REVIEW: Netflix movie ‘The Adam Project’ sees Ryan Reynolds teaming up with his just-as-snarky younger self in time-traveling sci-fi adventure

Mar 11, 2022, 11:23 AM | Updated: 1:19 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The story of one of the most popular and beloved time-travel movies of all time (Back to the Future) came about when the film’s writer asked himself if he had known his parents in high school, would he have been friends with them?

The newest entry into the time-travel movie genre, The Adam Project starring Ryan Reynolds, instead asks the questions: Would the adult version of you be able to put up with the teenage version of you, and would the teenage version of you be happy with the adult you’ve become?



In the year 2050, a pilot named Adam Reed (Reynolds) steals an aircraft and time-travels back to the current day.  Because he was injured during the escape into the past, grown-up Adam needs the help of his 12-year old self () to accomplish his mysterious but important mission.

12-year old Adam, on the other hand, is still dealing with the recent passing of his father (Mark Ruffalo) and has been distancing himself from his grieving and overwhelmed mother (Jennifer Garner).  He covers up his emotional pain with a snarkiness that gets him into trouble with bullies and school principals.  When the two Adams meet up, neither is quick to warm up to the other.

Future Adam has come to the past to investigate the disappearance of his wife (Zoe Saldana), but chasing him is his father’s former business partner (Catherine Keener), who may have already meddled with the timeline.


I thought the casting was the strongest part of the movie, particularly the discovery of Scobell, who really seemed to get how to imitate Ryan Reynolds’ mannerisms and comedic rhythms.  Saldana, Garner and Ruffalo (their first movie together since 13 Going on 30) are all great but they just didn’t get enough screen time, in my opinion.

Director , who also teamed up with Reynolds on last year’s hit movie Free Guy, wisely keeps things light & fun.  The movie spends almost no time focusing on the science behind the time travel, and the future is mostly just referenced rather than shown.  But while I can see where that might frustrate some, to me it felt more like a throwback to older days in film where they didn’t feel like they had to take two and a half hours to world-build in every movie.

Perhaps that compact storytelling also helped them save budget so they could spend it on special effects they did include in the movie.  I thought it was pretty good, especially for a Netflix movie, and the futuristic soldiers and weapons were pretty creative.  There were also subtle nods to other films of the time travel genre.


The Adam Project is rated PG-13 for violence, action, language and suggestive references.  There is some blood, though not much, and physical bullying is shown.  The run time is 1 hour and 46 minutes.  Most families with kids over age 8 would probably be OK to watch this together.


To me, The Adam Project was a fun movie that, like pretty much anything from Ryan Reynolds anymore, depends largely on how much you like his snarky sense of humor.  I personally love it so I enjoyed this film.

While I liked the quick pacing of the movie, it also left the villains very underdeveloped and almost felt irrelevant.  Not getting to see the other talented actors in the cast do enough also robbed some scenes later in the film of the emotion they were going for, and watching both the Adam’s try and deal with their grief just didn’t connect like it could have.

Final Rating: TWO out of FOUR stars


The Adam Project is available to stream on Netflix, but it’s also playing in one Wasatch Front theater (Cinemark Jordan Landing).

(L to R) Walker Scobell as Young Adam and Ryan Reynolds as Big Adam. Cr. Doane Gregory/Netflix © 2022 Zoe Saldana as Laura. Cr. Doane Gregory/Netflix © 2021 (L to R) Ryan Reynolds as Big Adam and Jennifer Garner as Ellie. Cr. Doane Gregory/Netflix © 2022 Walker Scobell as Young Adam. Cr. Doane Gregory/Netflix © 2022 (L to R) Zoe Saldana as Laura and Ryan Reynolds as Big Adam. Cr. Doane Gregory/Netflix © 2021 (L to R) Ryan Reynolds as Big Adam, Mark Ruffalo as Louis Reed and Walker Scobell as Young Adam. Cr. Doana Gregory/Netflix © 2022 (L to R) Behind-the-scenes of Ryan Reynolds as Big Adam and director Shawn Levy. Cr. Doane Gregory/Netflix © 2022

Hopefully you & your family found this review helpful! Andy Farnsworth does a weekly “What To Watch” segment for the KSL 5 Today morning news show and also hosts the Fan Effect podcast for KSL NewsRadio. Check out his other in-depth reviews of movies and streaming TV series on

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REVIEW: Netflix movie ‘The Adam Project’ sees Ryan Reynolds teaming up with his just-as-snarky younger self in time-traveling sci-fi adventure