3.5 out of 5 stars
Some film projects can be labelled as ‘getting the band back together.’ The Adam Project has the production team of Free Guy connecting with the world of 13 Going on 30. This heartfelt tale of time travel brings the combinations of director Shawn Levy with Ryan Reynolds along with that of Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner. This could also be said of the nostalgic soundtrack that complements the whole story beautifully. Yet, the entire production rests on the shoulders of newcomer Walker Scobell, who manages to outshine the rest of this fast-talking, star-studded cast.
Adam Reid (Scobell) is a wisecracking 12-year-old who has constantly been getting into fights at school since his father died in a car accident. His mother, Ellie (Garner), does her best to help her son survive life on the school grounds, while she grieves along with her son. As they try to come to terms with life without Louis Reed (Ruffalo), something unexpected disrupts their world. When an Adam (Reynolds) from the future crash lands above their home in a time-travelling ship, things become mind-blowingly strange and surprisingly dangerous. Primarily when the two Adams determine that the only way to save the world is to go back in history and stop their father from inventing time travel.
After reading that synopsis, many may wonder if this story could ever make any sense. Yet, despite being in development hell for over a decade, the Levy/Reynolds combination manages to make the whole adventure work. They add the whimsy of the Deadpool actor’s quick wit and the heartwarming style of the director of Night in the Museum that gives this an entertaining edge. Not that they break new filmmaking standards; instead, they rely on the methods that have defined and proven to be successful throughout their careers. Due to the storyline, one unfortunate aspect was that Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo get minimal time together on screen. It is not that it detracts from the overall experience, but they have a rare and endearing on-screen chemistry that could have been capitalised on more.
Yet, Walker Scobell proves to be a talented discovery who manages to hold his own against the Merc with the Mouth. (Deadpool reference) This young actor goes toe-to-toe with Reynolds and usually comes out the victor in stealing the scene. Levy captures the charm of these two actors within the intense sci-fi elements and during those one-on-one moments. Once again, showing the value of the relationships between child and parent that has defined the director’s career. Without sounding ironic, some timeline issues make this story a tad confusing. Still, overall it hits the mark as a captivating option for the whole family.
REEL DIALOGUE: A funny, time-travel film that is really about grief
Among the comedy, family dynamics and science fiction, the underlying theme of The Adam Project is grief. Between the loss of a father and a spouse, the Reid’s have to address the subject of untimely deaths. Both Adam and Ellie’s experiences are relatable to anyone who has lost someone close to them in their lifetime.
Grief can manifest in different ways in people based on their family history, the season of life they may be in or the suddenness of how the tragedy occurs. Evaluating or counselling individuals through the grieving process can be long and challenging, but regardless of the length of the process, hope and peace have to come into a person's life.
Relying on friends and family during these times is critical. Still, even those with the best intentions will fail to provide what's most needed. Throughout a time of grief, this is another time where God is at his best. Why? He delivers the answers we need. Turning to the God of the Bible during times of loss can provide a sense of peace and hope that goes beyond comprehension.
The next question is determining where to start. Besides asking for help from a local church pastor, two critical portions of the Bible provide a great start to assist with grief: Psalms 23 & 147 and the Gospel of John