Neither Kristen Stewart (Snow White and the Huntsman) as Phoebe nor Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Zombieland, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) as Mike bring their A-game in this one. Throughout the film, they are constantly force their inauthentic relationship upon the viewers. At one point Phoebe cries over the possible death of Mike, turning out to be one of the worst attempts at an emotional death scene in the past few years. Their characters have absolutely zero weight to them. Furthermore, Mike is supposed to be a druggy who is an unlikely candidate for being a Bourne-style fighter. Yet, Eisenberg portrays more of an isolated recluse than an actual druggy. This destroys the whole concept behind American Ultra.
At the time of this film's release, Landis was busy with multiple other projects and I cannot help but ponder whether those projects detracted from the writing for American Ultra. Constantly, the script relies on metaphors that just sound plain stupid when they are repeated over and over on screen. Every time I heard one of the metaphors, I was sent back to middle school where my peers never meant anything with their back-and-forth empty insults. Landis's script clearly was not edited much and kept is lack of meaning throughout the film. One of the oddest lines occurs when Topher Grace (Spider-Man 3, Interstellar) calls Kristen Stewart, Tarzan, and then tells her to burn with the apes. What does that even mean and why was it left in the script? Basically, this movie left me lost and confused.
The Bottom Line: American Ultra fails to sprout up as a unique Jason Bourne spoof.
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