Meewella | Critic

According to P

Tag: Jennifer Garner

QuickView: Family Switch (2023)

“This is a situation that has never happened before.”

Jess Walker

The only new idea Netflix’s unbearably bland Christmas body-swap brings is that, rather than a pair trading places, this time it’s an entire family. The female leads deliver the most convincing performances though their characters are also better written — most will recognise the expressive Emma Myers as Wednesday Addams’ best friend, whilst Jennifer Garner brings prior body swap experience from 13 Going On 30. In one scene the family members describe their situation by referencing the titles of a dozen other body swap movies, the writers perhaps hoping that by lampshading how hackneyed the concept is, we will forgive their derivative mess of a script. Logic rarely rears its head — Wyatt’s Yale interview is inexplicably held in a classroom at his school rather than at, say, Yale — and often the shenanigans require characters to forget the basic premise, so that we can have adults engage entirely inappropriately at a teenage party or schoolkids instantly forget they think a child is a loser. The less said about the cringe-inducing scene in which the siblings (in their parents’ bodies) are goaded into kissing the better. Eventually the family are required to learn the most basic of lessons — that they do care about one another — which perhaps is an achievement since I certainly struggled to care about this collection of stock characters sketched in the broadest manner possible. Switch this out for any other body swap movie instead.


QuickView: The Adam Project (2022)

“Sometimes it pays to be a nerd, guys.”

Louis Reed

Since the underwhelming Bright in 2017, Netflix has been chasing a big budget action film success in vain. Yet, with big name stars drawing high streaming figures, Netflix now seems content with a regular cadence of generic and largely forgettable films instead, and that is the mould for The Adam Project from director Shawn Levy (teaming up again with Ryan Reynolds after last year’s Free Guy). Its loose time travel mechanics are forgivable but its greater flaw is laziness in establishing its sci-fi world. We never really get a sense of the stakes in 2050, or how the existence of time travel has changed the planet, and a direct reference to The Terminator serves only to highlight The Adam Project‘s comparatively weak world-building and derivative story. The action is competently choreographed, with a few memorable moments using futuristic energy and sonic weapons. A more serious tone also allows Ryan Reynolds to deliver a more emotionally nuanced performance than Free Guy, particularly in the regret Adam feels when faced with how he treated his mother as a child. Unfortunately, with the exception of Walter Scobell as his younger self, the excellent supporting cast is wasted on characters that are never developed beyond sketches. The Adam Project is enjoyable but will be forgotten within a few months.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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