Netflix's The Adam Project review roundup – here's what the critics say

Zoe Saldana and Ryan Reynolds in The Adam Project
(Image credit: Netflix)

The Adam Project, Netflix's new big-budget family adventure, makes its bow on the streamer this Friday (March 11) and the first reviews are in. 

The film, which stars Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldaña, Jennifer Garner and Catherine Keener, is directed by Shawn Levy, who made Free Guy with Reynolds in 2021 and who executively produces Netflix's mammoth hit show Stranger Things

One of the tentpoles on Netflix's gigantic 2022 movie slate, The Adam Project follows Adam Reed, a character played by both Reynolds and newcomer Walker Scobell. The older Reed is a time-traveling fighter pilot, who crash lands in the year 2022, where he meets his 12-year-old self as well as Garner and Ruffalo, who play his parents. Together, the two Adams set out on a mission to save the future.

With the review embargo lifting ahead of launch day, then, fans have the clearest idea yet of whether it's worth checking out. But, despite its literal and metaphorical star power, it's a mixed bag.

Do critics like The Adam Project?

The Adam Project

(Image credit: Netflix)

Not really. It wouldn't be fair to say it's had a kicking, but the general response is pretty muted. 

The Hollywood Reporter's David Rooney summed it up best, calling the movie "too pedestrian to generate excitement" and questioning many of the casting choices.  Indiewire's David Ehrlich wasn't keen either, saying it's an "...overly safe film that only feigns at its ambition. It feels less like a natural fit for Reynolds’ talents than an ill-fitting star vehicle for someone who’s never been less interested in stretching his limits." Ouch. 

Empire's Jordan King liked it more than most, describing the sci-fi flick as "a throwback slice of escapism with plenty of heart", but he didn't feel compelled to give it more than three stars. Radio Times' Huw Fullerton struck the same tone, calling The Adam Project "...perfectly serviceable fare that will distract you from the world for an hour and 45 minutes." Not exactly a recommendation, is it?

Variety's Own Gleiberman enjoyed the film, but qualified his praise, saying: "Ryan Reynolds and Shawn Levy are going to make much better movies than this one, but you can feel the tastiness of their combo even in a kinetic marshmallow." Finally, IGN's Ryan Leston bucked the trend by offering up a tonne of praise, he called the film "Back to the Future meets The Last Starfighter with a slew of wonderful performances." It's nice to someone enjoyed it. 

When can I see The Adam Project?

If the reviews haven't put you off, The Adam Project will exclusively launch on Netflix worldwide on Friday, March 11.

If it doesn't sound like its one for you, but you're in the mood for something with Ryan Reynolds leading the way, we've compiled his 10 finest films. Alternatively, check out the 10 most popular movies on Netflix right now, or start binge watching a new Netflix show instead.

Tom Goodwyn
Freelance Entertainment Writer

Tom Goodwyn was formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor. He's now a freelancer writing about TV shows, documentaries and movies across streaming services, theaters and beyond. Based in East London, he loves nothing more than spending all day in a movie theater, well, he did before he had two small children…