Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg have reunited for the late-summer comedy, American Ultra, in which the two play a stoner couple on the run from the CIA. Eisenberg is an anxiety-ridden, mini-mart employee who only wants to propose to his girlfriend, Stewart, but when he's suddenly accosted by two hitmen in the parking lot, he takes them out with a ramen cup and spoon.
Lo and behold: Eisenberg is a sleeper agent in an expired CIA program.
While the 31-year-old actor's low-brained, stoner self often adds humor to his highly intellectual agent self, most critics agree that the parts are greater than the whole. Variety's Andrew Barker notes, "the film has a lot going for it but, like a fridge-clearing omelet prepared after too many bong hits, it can't manage to cook all these goodies into a palatable whole."
He does, however, credit Stewart for bringing character to an otherwise dull role. "And the interplay between Eisenberg and Stewart is effortlessly charming, with Stewart adding some welcome kinks and quirks to what could have been a thankless girlfriend role," he adds. "But as the film nears its midway point, very few of its promising ideas are carried through, and it devolves into an average midrange actioner that just happens to feature an unlikely hero at the center."
A.V. Club praises the movie's comedic moments but says that it fails on its promise: to be an action film. "But oddly, the one thing American Ultra isn't very good at is being a straightforward action flick, despite a conceptually spot-on climactic set piece that finds Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg, sporting luxuriant hair extensions) dispatching a small army of goons using whatever he can find on the shelves of a big-box store. Perhaps this is the inevitable trade-off of opting for an actor who could credibly play an anxious stoner over one who could play a world-class killer."
The Hollywood Reporter suggests viewers might want to be in an "altered state" to fully enjoy the movie's hijinks. "Even with its tight running time, American Ultra starts spinning its wheels well before the climax, although it's entirely possible that being in an altered state while watching this will keep the target audience giggling at the repetitive antics all the way to the end.
"As it is, there are incidental pleasures to be had simply in observing the generally more serious-minded Eisenberg and Stewart slumming in a project that's dopey in more ways than one and not caring how unkempt, slovenly and un-movie-starish they look and behave."
Deadline Hollywood says the movie is downright "ultra dumb," but credits Eisenberg for saving it from itself. The film is an "ultra violent stoner comedy Lionsgate is throwing against the wall to see if it sticks at the box office in the dog days of August. But...it does have a real saving grace. Star Jesse Eisenberg's performance rescues the whole thing..."
Find out what attracted Stewart to the role by watching the video below!
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