Friday, August 21, 2015


Jason Bourne meets Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski (aka: The Bourne HIGHdentity).  In concept, this seems like a terrific hybrid pairing of genres.  In execution, however, American Ultra is a slack lazy attempt to simultaneously make audiences laugh galore and squirm by gore.  It’s a Frankenstein-ian patchwork of granularly geek-tastic notebook doodles.  Ideas that seemingly popped in to the filmmaker’s head while, hopefully, under the influence of reefer madness.  There are some laughs, a few modestly intriguing concepts and a couple of not-so-obnoxious lead performances – but that all quickly caves under the girth of an overbearing action premise that loses its way in a cannabis-induced haze of misdirection and obnoxiously meandering shifts in tone.  It’s funny then it’s not, it sweet, then its super violent.  It’s as if this paranoia-laced premise was designed to simply impress the people that made it…  American Ultra is absolutely in love with how creatively out-of-the-box it thinks it is.  It’s not a bad movie – occasionally the quirk works – I just gave up on giving a damn.  Not unlike Eisenberg’s slack-jawed slacker, the movie feels riddled with anxiety about what it is and what it wants to be…  After the blood-splattered Cheeto dust settles, you’ll find you have the munchies for a much better movie.  I’d puff-puff-pass on this one…
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Tony Hale, John Leguizamo, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins and Bill Pullman
Directed by: Nima Nourizadeh (PROJECT X)
Rated: R
Running time: 1hr. 39min.
Story: American Ultra is a fast-paced action comedy about Mike (Eisenberg), a seemingly hapless and unmotivated stoner whose small-town life with his live-in girlfriend, Phoebe (Stewart), is suddenly turned upside down. Unbeknownst to him, Mike is actually a highly trained, lethal sleeper agent. In the blink of an eye, as his secret past comes back to haunt him, Mike is thrust into the middle of a deadly government operation and is forced to summon his inner action-hero in order to survive. (C) Lionsgate
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