American Ultra review

You know what’s a good barometer for whether or not a movie is good?

If my dad can stay awake.

Not once, in my entire life, have I ever seen my father keep his eyes open at the movies. One time I had to wake him up so a girl next to us could go to the bathroom.

So you can imagine my surprise when he was not only conscious, but also cracking up on our movie night. I think he even like it better than Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation.

The movie in question is about a stoner, Mike (Jesse Eisenberg) who’s about to propose to his girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) when he finds out he’s a sleeper agent targeted by the CIA. Like I predicted, it’s stupid fun as long as you check in logic at the door.

The chemistry between the two of them is the most believable part of the movie, and really grounds the story. I appreciated that they deviated from the “boy saves girl” formula a little bit, but Stewart still plays second fiddle to Eisenberg’s bumbling idiot.

The action sequences are fun, given that Mike is killing people with household items. The “pan flip” trick you see in the trailer is pretty cool, too.

Here’s the thing, though. Why would the CIA care about wiping out a harmless stoner who suffers from panic attacks? And then shut down an entire town to catch him, killing dozens of innocent bystanders in the process? As I said, just go with it and you’ll have a good time.

There’s also a plot twist halfway through the movie which I sort of called after Collider hinted at it. (Fun fact: My mom figured out the ending to The Sixth Sense after the ticket seller told her she’d never guess it.)

Despite it bombing at the box office, I thought American Ultra was pretty good. And if you didn’t know that it tanked, screenwriter, Max Landis made sure you knew it by having a baby tantrum on Twitter. Not unlike Fantastic Four director, Josh Trank.

To be honest, as much as I loved American Ultra, it didn’t stand a chance against Straight Outta Compton. That’s aside from the fact that it’s been impossible to market. Eisenberg and Stewart’s previous movie, Adventureland didn’t do very well, either, but I still consider it one of the best written teen movies I've ever seen.

I've posted the trailer and Eisenberg and Stewart's cute Funny Or Die interview.

Header image credit: PalmStar Media

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