(director/writer: Shawn Levy; screenwriters: Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin; cinematographer: Tobias Schliessler; editors: Jonathan Corn/Dean Zimmerman; music: Rob Simonsen; cast: Zoe Saldaña (Laura), Ryan Reynolds (Big Adam), Walker Scobel (Young Adam), Mark Ruffalo (Louis Reed), Jennifer Garner (Ellie Reed), Braxton Bjerken (Ray), Kasra Wong (Chuck), Alex Mallari Jr. (Christos), Catherine Keener (Maya Sorian); Runtime: 106; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers; David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, Shawn Levy, Ryan Reynolds: Netflix; 2022)

Reynolds gave it conviction (trouble is I don’t care for him).

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

An effective in spots and somewhat enjoyable jokey and schmaltzy comedy/sci-fi  film written and directed by Shawn Levy (“Just in Time”/”Free Guy”), with co-writers Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin. It pays homage to a number of child-friendly adventure films from the 1980s like “Back to the Future.” The film is built around around self-discovery for the heroic coming-of-age person.

In the film’s opening we’re told “Time travel exists. And further told, “You just don’t know it yet.” The film’s tagline is the past meets the future.

n 2050 the jet-pilot Adam (Ryan Reynolds) steals a spacecraft and time-travels back to find the love of his life, his wife Laura (Zoe Saldana), who has mysteriously vanished, and to clear up a time travel conspiracy. The 40-year-old Adam heads back to 2018 but instead lands in 2022, and ends up teaming up with the talkative 12-year-old version of himself (Walker Scobell) as he was then. The time-traveler is a joker who tells the kid that time travel has ruined mankind, and teaches the kid how to standup to bullies.

Adam gets back to 2018 when his
dad Louis (Mark Ruffalo), a physicist who would become the foundation of time travel by coming up with an equation to explain it, has died and when they meet again are the same age. Meanwhile his mom (Jennifer Garner) does a great job raising him as a single parent even if he failed to see it at the time and gave her a bad time talking back to her. We also get to know Louis’s ruthless business associate, Maya (Catherine Keener), who is a corporate villain and might be the one behind a time travel conspiracy.

The film tells of the strained relationship Adam has with his father, which tears at his insides even as he quips about it. This inner hurt releases Adam’s more tender side. By the film’s end, after a Bond-like finale flare-up, it ends on this sweet note of self-realization for Adam–which seems to be what the pic is all about.

It’s not my type of film, but it went by quickly even if tedious. Reynolds gave it conviction
(trouble is I don’t care for him–as I find his comedy act tiresome). His endless wise-cracking schtick was too much for me, and the formulaic film (the action shots were done better in many other sci-fi films).

REVIEWED ON 3/13/2022  GRADE: C+