The Adam Project Review: A Feel-Good Family Adventure

There are not many movies in recent years that have a simple through line: an adventure film that doubles as a heartfelt and hilarious flick. That seems to be Shawn Levy’s USP – whether he gives us Free Guy, Date Night, or Cheaper by the Dozen. With The Adam Project, he successfully re-teams with Ryan Reynolds for a family-friendly adventure that takes us back to good ol’ days of E.T. and Back to the Future.

The film follows time-traveling pilot Adam Reed (Reynolds) who crash lands into 2022 from the year 2050 and comes face to face with his 12-year-old self (Walker Scobell). He had intended to visit 2018 with hopes of finding his wife, fellow pilot (Zoe Saldana), who recently disappeared after a simple flight simulation.

Young Adam’s life is out of control as a bratty kid who is often bullied at school. He starts acting out after the recent death of his father (Mark Ruffalo) while making it impossible for his mom (Jennifer Garner) to deal with him.

Big Adam is a cynic and he’s constantly bickering with young Adam. But the film doesn’t just stop there. The two go back in time to visit their dad, and let’s just say there are utterly relatable, emotional moments that guarantee waterworks.

The Adam Project‘s strength lies in setting up big emotional moments within an entertaining adventure story. The classic quips we’ve come to expect from Reynolds are there in spades, like when he bickers with an exceptionally talented Scobell. It truly feels like the two are the same character as they bounce off one another.

However, we’ve had fewer chances to see Reynolds’ dramatic range. Along with his on-screen parents, Ruffalo and Garner, Reynolds creates magic that will make viewers instantly want to hug their parents.

This time-travel film hits you with a good old dose of nostalgia, reminding you of classic ’90s films, but it also stands out as an original film on its own.

Garner and Ruffalo are always a treat on-screen, reuniting 18 years after their hit 13 Going on 30. However, I would have liked to have seen more of them on-screen together. They are pure joy to watch, and choosing them to play the parents was perhaps the best casting decision because they have incredible chemistry that just clicks.


Saldana is the most underused actor in The Adam Project, even though she makes her presence felt in the few scenes she occupies. I wasn’t too impressed with the casting of Catherine Keener as the villain, though. She doesn’t leave a solid impression here as she has in her other film. She is abundantly talented, but somehow doesn’t fit the role in this film.

While the sci-fi, time-travel elements aren’t particularly new or interesting, The Adam Project keeps the audience invested with the fact that it is peppered with whip-smart one-liners and funny moments that will have you chuckling out loud. It helps balance out the sappy moments nicely, making it genuine and grounded so you leave wanting to give your family a great big hug. Kids and adults will have different interpretations of this film, but ultimately it’s a feel-good adventure that will satisfy fans.

The Adam Project is now on Netflix.