Netflix’s latest original movie, “The Adam Project,” was released on the streaming service on March 11, and while seemingly like any other Netflix original, it manages to stand out and be an enjoyable experience. In the past, Netflix has often put prominent actors in mediocre movies to draw audiences in. With Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldaña in the film, it appeared like “The Adam Project” was no different. But like his previous film with Reynolds, “Free Guy,” director Shawn Levy has brought genuine humor and heart to what seems like a played-out concept to make something fresh and fun.

The movie centers around the character of Adam, played as a 12-year-old by Walker Scobell and as an adult by Ryan Reynolds. Without spoiling too much, the story is about a man who time travels back to his own childhood to right a wrong and along the way face and cope with childhood pain. While the movie is a time-travel story and the plot is guilty of many of the cliches that come with it, the characters and smaller moments more than make up for it. In this story of action and science fiction, the best moments are the intimate scenes between two characters just talking. At the core of the story are very poignant ideas about loss, grief and the past, that are all dealt with very well. The movie’s runtime of less than two hours also serves it well, as it doesn’t feel too long or drawn out as Netflix original movies sometimes do.

The movie manages to be heartwarming and bittersweet while also hilarious at moments. The humor doesn’t feel too forced and there are a lot of really funny exchanges between characters in the film. In this incredibly talented and beloved cast, Scobell manages to play the best character in the story. He is able to keep up with Reynolds and Ruffalo in his scenes with them and really feels like a younger version of Reynolds’ character in the best possible way.

While the character-driven elements of the story and individual scenes are fantastic, the actual plot is where the movie falls short at some moments. It is a time travel story and with that comes a lot that has already been done to death. There are also the third-act issues that plague most Hollywood films these days that unfortunately made the film’s climax seem like something seen before in a multitude of other films. This is slightly rectified, however, with the much smaller and intimate end scene after the big action set pieces.

Ultimately, the film is able to ground science fiction in something that feels very real and deliver something fun to watch, even if it was unable to escape many of the issues that faced it with the subject matter and genre. It is a funny and heartwarming movie that you wouldn’t rewatch while scrolling through Netflix in a year or two, but you will have a good time on the first watch. If you are a fan of Reynolds and his style of comedy or time travel stories and science fiction, it’s worth checking out.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars