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The Adam Project is a family-friendly time-travel adventure 

In this family-friendly sci-fi thriller, it's 2050, and wise-cracking time-traveling pilot Adam Reed (Ryan Reynolds) attempts to return to 2018 on a rescue mission to save his wife, Laura (Zoe Saldana), but accidentally crash lands in 2022, where he meets his 12-year-old self (Walker Scobell), a wise-cracking tween whose big mouth makes him the target of bullying. It doesn't help that young Adam is still suffering from the death of their father, Louis Reed (Mark Ruffalo), the inventor of time travel technology, and confounding his mother, Ellie Reed (Jennifer Garner), who doesn't know how to deal with her son's misbehavior. As they slip between times, adult Adam, young Adam, and their dad, Louis, will need to work together to save the future. (106 min.)

click to enlarge IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR In Netflix's new sci-fi thriller, a time traveler (Ryan Reynolds, center) goes back in time and meets his younger self (Walker Scobell, left) and his long dead father Louis (Mark Ruffalo), in a bid to save the future world. - PHOTO COURTESY OF 21 LAPS ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo Courtesy Of 21 Laps Entertainment
  • IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR In Netflix's new sci-fi thriller, a time traveler (Ryan Reynolds, center) goes back in time and meets his younger self (Walker Scobell, left) and his long dead father Louis (Mark Ruffalo), in a bid to save the future world.
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Glen Time travel is a tried-and-true but perhaps overdone sci-fi convention, but this engaging, funny take on the genre brings real charm to the story by pitting adult Adam with his 12-year-old self and allowing their father, Louis, to meet his son as a child and adult. Reynolds is, as usual, funny as hell, and Scobell as young Adam effectively adopts Reynold's razor-sharp wit, which as a slight, asthmatic 12-year-old didn't serve young Adam well when he couldn't keep his trap shut in the face of bullies. It's fun to watch as young Adam marvels at the muscular 6-foot-2 pilot he'll become. The film, directed by Shawn Levy (Cheaper by the Dozen, Night at the Museum, Free Guy), has fun with the time travel gags. When they find Adam's wife, adult Adam says, "Laura, this is me," gesturing to young Adam, who says, "Hi!" Laura says, "Parallel contact, babe?" alluding to the danger of inhabiting space with another version of yourself, to which Adam says, "Well, you know, you've always said that you wished you met me earlier." It's all pretty charming.

Anna What's more charming than a Ruffalo/Reynolds pair-up? Add in the adorable Scobell and these three are just a treat to watch. There's a lot of comedy in young Adam and older Adam realizing they annoy each other pretty badly. They squabble like brothers a little too close in age. It's definitely got that sappy side of another "bring the family together" time travel flick, but as long as you don't go in thinking you're getting some novel twist on the genre, chances are you'll enjoy it. The one-liners keep the pace up. I also loved seeing Scobell working to mirror Reynolds' humor and style of speech delivery in his younger version. Personally, I'm not generally into sci-fi movies for the plot lines, and it's a win from me if it has me laughing and not bogged down with a whole lot of minutiae. In that regard, this film hit the mark.

Glen Deep thinkers and logicians need not apply because the science is secondary. It also helps to be a fan of Reynolds' sarcastic jerk persona, which—weirdly to me—I know some people don't like. I've been a fan since I first noticed him in the lowbrow college comedy romp Van Wilder (2001). His mix of bravado, wit, and cockiness is an acquired taste, I guess. Catherine Keener is solid as Adam's future boss, Maya Sorian, a greedy villain who exploited Louis' time travel technology and means to control it. The Reed family dynamic gives the film its heart. The Adams have to work through their bitterness toward their father as well as come to appreciate their mother. Rest assured, this feel-good film will deliver the expected resolution.

Anna I'm in the same boat as you as far as Reynolds goes. What some people find obnoxious about him I find entertaining; this film would be a tough sell if I didn't. The family dynamics of the film are the heart of it, and I like that there are some complicated feelings going on. Adam is pretty bitter about growing up without his dad, so things aren't suddenly all buddy-buddy when the two go to meet Louis. It's PG-13 and a movie I think a lot of kids around that age would really enjoy. There's fight scenes, though none too brutal, cool special effects, fast-paced car chases, and plenty more to keep kids and adults alike entertained. It may not be in the realm of classics like Back to the Future and ET, but it's an entertaining romp through time and space. Get that popcorn popped and enjoy this one with the family. Δ

Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey and freelancer Anna Starkey write Split Screen. Glen compiles streaming listings. Comment at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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