The Adam Project
By Jennifer Green,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Stylized violence, language in emotional time-travel tale.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Our time on earth is short. It's easier to be angry than sad, but sometimes you can forget there's a difference. Family provides a child's place in the world and sense of identity. Kids don't need a parent to be perfect; they just need a parent to be there for them. Sometimes scientific discoveries can be used for negative purposes. It pays to be a nerd.
Positive Role Models
People make personal sacrifices, including risking their own lives, for the larger good of humanity. Parents and kids learn they can support each other through difficult periods rather than retreating into their own emotions. Adults and kids both cover their true emotions with sarcasm and feigned indifference. A father shares his love and pride for his grown son.
Main characters are mostly White except the lead character's wife, who is Black. Main characters are "nerds" and scientists, and a running theme is how being a nerd can pay off.
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Violence & Scariness
Frequent sci-fi action violence, plus bullying. Kids tease and punch an asthmatic kid who's smaller than them. A character has a bleeding gunshot wound. A father died in a car accident. A sympathetic character is killed. Multiple deadly fights with futuristic soldiers, some fistfights and battles between humans. Futuristic weapons kill humans and robots by shooting, stabbing, disintegrating, electrocuting, beating. A tween attacks robots with a video game-like drone system. Car chases result in cars shot at, flipped over, and exploded. A man jokes about wanting to drown an annoying kid. A character has a stash of weapons in her floor.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing, in one case passionately and presumably leading to sex. Jokes about "penis," getting "laid," and a jacket that makes a man "look like a condom with buttons."
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"S--t," partial "motherf----r," "ass," "a--hole," "damn," "goddamn it," "bitch," "hell," "crap," "moron," "jeez," "jerk," "balls," "turd-burper," "loser," "pee," "frickin'," "suck." "God" and "Christ" used as exclamations.
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Products & Purchases
Car brands, beer signs at bar.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink wine, liquor, and beer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Adam Project is a time-traveling mystery starring Jennifer Garner, Ryan Reynolds, and Zoe Saldana that has lots of action and humor, as well as emotional family drama that includes deaths of loved ones. A son has never properly forgiven his father for dying young and takes it out on his mother, who's also grieving. When an older version of himself shows up, he's drawn into an adventure that gives him the chance to go back in time and repair those relationships. But that adventure is quite dangerous, and while it allows the child to escape bullying kids who tease and punch him, it also puts his life in jeopardy repeatedly. Multiple deadly fights with futuristic soldiers involve weapons used to kill by shooting, stabbing (one bloody wound is treated), disintegrating, electrocuting, and beating. A tween attacks soldiers with a video game-like drone system. Car chases result in vehicles being shot at, flipped over, and exploded. A man jokes about wanting to drown an annoying kid. There's also a lot of language ("s--t," partial "motherf----r," "ass," "a--hole," "goddammit," "bitch," and more). Expect to see kissing, sexual innuendo, and drinking, too. Underlying the action are positive messages about the importance of family, the value of communicating genuine emotions, and the benefits of "being a nerd."
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The Adam Project
Based on 14 parent reviews
Potentially great movie to watch with kids Fails due to crude actor!
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Not bad movie, pity about language
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What's the Story?
Left home alone one evening while his widowed mother (Jennifer Garner) goes out on a date, Young Adam (Walker Scobell) discovers a wounded man on his property at the start of THE ADAM PROJECT. The man (Ryan Reynolds) turns out to be an older version of himself, and he eventually explains that he has traveled back in time to discover how his wife (Zoe Saldana) was killed, and maybe save her. Time travel is possible thanks to technology initially created by Adam's dad (Mark Ruffalo) but put to nefarious use by his business partner, Maya Sorian (Catherine Keener). Big Adam has been followed back in time by Sorian and her robot-like soldiers, putting his life -- and that of his younger self -- in jeopardy.
Is It Any Good?
The real surprise in this fun, layered, time-traveling action mystery is the tenderness with which family relationships and sentiments are handled. The Adam Project gives its characters the opportunity to go back in time to right misdirected relationships and fix missed chances to fully express their feelings for each other. While the concept of time travel is nothing new (Young Adam's blue puffy vest could be a direct nod to Back to the Future's Marty McFly), the way it's handled here as a device for a more intimate character study is compelling. An especially moving scene is when Big Adam encounters his mom in a bar and helps her understand her son's feelings, as well as her own.
The action scenes and visual effects are of course well done (though the de-aging of Keener is a little creepy), and they're set to classic rock and choreographed with character-revealing dialogues. A memorable example is when Young Adam repeats Big Adam's condescending tough-guy advice back to him when the latter is in a vulnerable position. The actors here are cast to type: Reynolds as a wise-cracking reluctant hero, Garner as a mom, Saldana as a brave action hero, and Ruffalo as a scruffy sage. The discovery is Walker Scobell as Young Adam. He manages to match Reynolds' sarcasm, smarts, and knowing looks, rather than the other way around, acting that was necessary to make their oneness as versions of the same character believable. While the setting doesn't play a huge role, the lush forest right outside Adam's house is magical and vaguely reminiscent of scenes from E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the two versions of Adam in The Adam Project. How are they alike and different? What do they learn from each other? What would you say to a younger version of yourself, given the chance?
What is the world of 2050 like, judging by the descriptions given by characters who have traveled back to 2022? What do you envision the future to look like?
How does this film weave action, drama, fantasy, and comedy together? What genre would you call the movie, if you had to pick just one?
- On DVD or streaming: March 11, 2022
- Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Walker Scobell, Mark Ruffalo
- Director: Shawn Levy
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: STEM, Magic and Fantasy, Adventures
- Run time: 106 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: violence/action, language and suggestive references
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: February 17, 2023
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