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.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.