“American Ultra”

From IMDB: American Ultra

A stoner – who is in fact a government agent – is marked as a liability and targeted for extermination. But he’s too well-trained and too high for them to handle.

Directed by Nima Nourizadeh

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Connie Britten, Bill Pullman, Topher Grace

 

If you haven’t seen the trailer yet:

Also, I don’t recall the shelf-life on spoilers, so be aware of that…

American Ultra is one of those movies that can easily be broken down into its constituent influences. In this case, we have the Jason Bourne movies, any Seth Rogan movie (for the stoners), any Woody Allen movie (for the existential dread), with a dash of Romeo and Juliet thrown in for good (?) measure.

If you’re a regular reader here, you might think that I’m going to trash this movie because of Jesse Eisenberg, based on my review of his work in Batman vs Superman. If that was the only movie I’d ever seen him in, you might be right, but since I quite enjoyed Now You See Me, loved Zombieland, and even remember his performance in the criminally underrated Dead Poet’s Society derivative film The Emperor’s Club with Kevin Kline, you would be wrong.

Kristen Stewart has a spottier record with me, though. She will (likely) always carry the stigma of Twilight, but she has Panic Room, Jumper (which had potential), Snow White and the Huntsman (which I enjoyed), and even took a bit part as a voice in the too-weird-to-explain (but which I highly recommend watching, at least once) K-11, starring Goran Visnjic. In American Ultra, whether you believe it or not, she emotes.

I know. Hard to believe. But she does. Pretty well, too.

So, what to make of American Ultra, then?

As I said, it’s pretty derivative of a hundred other spy movies, but it does so with its tongue teasing the inside of its cheek pretty well, which helps blunt the need to take the film too seriously on its own merits. It is a spy movie for the 21st century the way that Kingsman: The Secret Service is, though that film is very much the better effort.

I enjoyed American Ultra enough to say you wouldn’t be wasting your time watching it, so see it when you get a chance. You don’t have to run right out and watch it, but when the opportunity arises, give it a whirl.

If for no other reason, you get to watch Topher Grace act like a spoiled little bitch.

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