[Screen It]


(2022) (Ryan Reynolds, Walker Scobell) (PG-13)

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Sci-Fi: After accidentally crash-landing in 2022, a time-traveling pilot reluctantly teams up with his 12-year-old self to save the future.

It's 2050, and Adam Reed (RYAN REYNOLDS) is a time travel pilot who's headed for the year 2018 in hopes of discovering what happened to his fellow time traveler wife, Laura (ZOE SALDANA), who reportedly crashed and perished there. But the woman in charge of all time travel, Maya Sorian (CATHERINE KEENER), has sent her henchman, Christos (ALEX MALLARI, JR.), to stop Adam.

That results in Adam being wounded and accidentally crash-landing in the year 2022 near where his 12-year-old and equally snarky self (WALKER SCOBELL), lives with his widowed mom, Ellie (JENNIFER GARNER). They're both still reeling from the accidental death of their father/husband, Louis (MARK RUFFALO), whose work with magnetic particle accelerators eventually lead to the development of time travel.

Needing young Adam's help to get back to 2018 to set things right and find out what happened to Laura, Adam reluctantly teams up and eventually bonds with his younger self as they sort through their various issues.

OUR TAKE: 7 out of 10

As a young, aspiring screenwriter many, many (okay, let's add one more many) moons ago, one of the first scripts I wrote was a time travel one. While I don't have any solid statistics on the matter, I imagine many a novice scribe -- as well as some seasoned pros -- has gone that route simply because the subject matter is brimming with potential.

It's also teaming with conundrums regarding the "logic" in play for such time alterations. So much so that many a writer attempting such a piece of fiction -- and yes, I speak from experience -- ends up bogged down in trying to make everything work so that viewers won't get distracted by questions that begin with "Wait a minute..." and "If that happened, wouldn't..."

Based on my efforts and repeating what I've stated before in my reviews of other time travel movies, the best advice is to follow that stated in one of the old "Austin Powers" movies: "I suggest you don't worry about this sort of thing and just enjoy yourself." Seemingly taking that advice to heart, screenwriters Jonathan Tropper and T.S. Nowlin & Jennifer Flackett & Mark Levin have come up with the entertaining time travel yarn, "The Adam Project."

Reteaming director Shawn Levy with star Ryan Reynolds (who last worked together on the equally imaginative "Free Guy"), the story features the latter as the title character -- or, I guess, and more accurately, one half of that collective protagonist -- who travels back in time from 2050 to 2022 where he accidentally crash-lands. There, and more than just a bit conveniently, he ends up at his old house where he encounters his 12-year-old self (played by Walker Scobell who near expertly mimics his older co-star's trademark snarky demeanor).

Older Adam is dismayed to once again be living his geeky, childhood traumas -- at least vicariously -- while younger Adam is amazed by what's to become of himself, albeit not without dropping his own set of insults. You know, the kind that results in him getting beaten up at school by bullies who don't appreciate his lip -- except as a punching bag -- thus putting him at odds with his recently widowed mom (Jennifer Garner) who no longer understands the boy and his behavior.

The best part of the film is the pairing between the two Adams and the funny if often acid-tinged barbs they fling back and forth, and the overall notion of dealing with one's past by, well, directly dealing with it in real-time. But such a big-budget film necessitates more plot and action and thus we have the villains from the future -- time travel head honcho Maya Sorian (Catherine Keener), her henchman Christos (Alex Mallari Jr.), and their small army of masked soldiers -- who aren't pleased that Adam has escaped in the past and might tamper with what they've previously altered.

Adam, though, is far more interested in discovering what happened to his allegedly late wife, Laura (Zoe Saldana), whose time travel ship reportedly broke up upon entering the year 2018. Needing his younger version's DNA scan to use his ship, Adam then travels there, with him and young Adam then encountering their late father (Mark Ruffalo) whose earlier work eventually led to time travel.

What follows is an entertaining mixture of action, comedy, and heartfelt moments. Granted, if watching Reynolds doing his normal smarmy shtick is akin to the proverbial nails down the blackboard scenario, the doubled-up dose of that here likely will have you running for the hills. But if you don't mind it -- and especially if you alternatively really enjoy it -- I imagine you're going to enjoy spending time -- and its various conundrums -- with "The Adam Project." I did, and rate the film a 7 out of 10.

Reviewed March 3, 2022 / Posted March 11, 2022

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