Shawn Levy, director of the Night at the Museum franchise, is behind the camera for a Netflix Ryan Reynolds project. Reynolds plays Adam from the year 2050 and is supported by Walker Scobell as Adam from 2022. Their father Louis, from 2018, is Mark Ruffalo. Jennifer Garner plays Adam’s mother from 2022. The easy joke to make is about Thirteen Going on Thirty. Each character feels typecast from their more recent roles.
Ruffalo’s character invents time travel and channels his MCU Bruce Banner constantly. Garner plays an over-stressed mother who does not know how to control her child. I cannot recall when she played this role before, but it feels familiar. Ryan Reynolds plays Ryan Reynolds, a goofy man-child. No new ground is broken for any of the cast. Reynolds does get a few touching moments, but I felt more for his character in Free Guy.
The film tries to blend sci-fi with a story of love, loss, and acceptance. It keeps the sci-fi at arm’s length as each time a deep question is asked a character deflects and moves on to a new subject. 2022 Adam is constantly giving his mother a hard time, but in 2050 Adam has changed. He tries to impart his past wisdom to a reluctant learner. My relationship with my parents is something I appreciate far more now than I might have grown up. With hindsight, I can recognize all that they did. I can also interact with them as an adult. This is not a lesson that can be learned by hearing it, it requires experience. I am not sure what the moral of the story is for children to take away from the film.
I watched this on a lazy afternoon, and it fits into that time slot well. It is a very approachable version of sci-fi and time travel. The production is theater quality, but with a small screen expansiveness. You get performances you have come to expect from the actors and the directing lives up to Night at the Museum standards. All around it is a good Netflix film.