Looks fun, right? Wrong. Everything you know is wrong because it looks like the world hated American Ultra. I suppose “hated” is a strong word, too strong to use in this instance. The fact that it came in dead last at the box office, though, doesn’t bode well. Unfortunately, numerous negative reviews aren’t doing the movie any favors either. All of this baffles me because I really liked it. See? I told you I was a hack. Nevertheless, I know when I’ve had a good time.
We meet Mike (Jesse Eisenberg) as he’s yakking up his life into a toilet, succumbing to yet another panic attack. What’s different about today is that Mike is headed to Hawaii with his girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristin Stewart). Sadly, his anxiety gets the best of him yet again and he winds up grounding them both. Instead of flying off to paradise, they hop back into Phoebe’s Subaru and head home.
I don’t need to tell you much else about the movie because it’s all in that nifty trailer above. Besides, American Ultra isn’t just a movie about stoners; it’s a movie about secrets. That’s not to say American Ultra is as good as this trailer gets; on the contrary. It’s much it’s more than that.
Kristen Stewart is spot on as Phoebe. She brings us a girlfriend that’s gentle, incredibly patient, understanding, laid back and fun. Her ability to nail the deadpan jokes in this film makes her performance stellar. Jesse Eisenberg is Mike in an alternate universe, I’m positive. Both actors deliver in the realms of comedy, action and drama. Their talent and chemistry do not go unnoticed even in a movie packed with action sequences and jokes.
Clearly this movie is billed as a comedy, but I honestly didn’t expect to laugh quite as hard as I did. Fortunately, my theater was full of good sports with equally bombastic senses of humor. In other words, lots of us blurted out laughing throughout the film. Since this is also considered an action movie, I wasn’t going to be happy unless Eisenberg and Stewart nailed their fight scenes. Badassery can’t be faked and neither of these two had to do that.
Originally, I was torn between a C or a C+, but then I got to thinking. In reality it was more like reminiscing. I thought about how I felt when the credits started rolling, as I often do when I’m unsure which rating to give a movie. After thinking about it for a moment, I decided to go with a B. How does a movie go from a possible C to a B in a matter of seconds? I remembered that a broad smile had crept up and across my lips while leaving the theater. Coming from someone that suffers from chronic resting bitch face, that smile should count for double. Ultimately, we’re all going to the movies for a good time and on that American Ultra delivered.
American Ultra – B
B = Watch it in a theater, stream it on T.V. or add it to your Netflix queue; chances are, you won’t curse me for recommending when the credits roll.