Running time: 96 minutes
Director: Nourizadeh Nima
Reteaming after 2009’s Adventureland, Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart play a couple of stoners from West Virginia in the last movie by Project X’s director. Mike works at the local convenience store and is head-over-heels in love with his girlfriend Phoebe. He surprises her with a trip to Hawaii where he is planning to propose to her. However, every time he tries to leave town, Mike gets sick with panick attacks and this time is no exception, forcing the young couple to return home and miss their holidays, which, despite the amazing chemistry between Stewart and Eisenberg, raises the question to what is Phoebe doing with a guy like this.
It turns out that this is all due to the fact that Mike is actually a sleeping agent, programmed to get sick whenever he tries to leave town. Now, CIA agent, Adrien Yates (Topher Grace) is planning to shut down the program and eliminate Mike. Against this measure, Victoria (Connie Britton), the head of the Ultra program, visits Mike at his work station and speaks to him in code making no apparent impact on Mike. What he doesn’t know is that Victoria’s random words have activated him and to his surprise he is able to take down the two agents sent by Yates to kill him using just a spoon and the soup he was about to eat.
A freaked-out Mike, calls Phoebe to tell her the extraordinary and horrifying thing that has just happened and when she arrives to the crime scene, they are both arrested. From here they have to keep finding unimaginable ways to survive as Yates is still determinate to kill Mike. It is strange to see Jesse Eisenberg in a role where he is not the smartest person in the room but somehow Mike seems to be a perfect fit for him. I know not everyone is a fan of him but he actually brings a lot of charm to the role. As for Kristen Stewart, we can’t keep bringing up Twilight and Snow White because in the last few years she has proved to be above that and has been really good in her recent work. I didn’t think the twist with her character entirely worked though, but that had nothing to do with her portrayal.
American Ultra is a messy movie that embraces the weirdness and doesn’t expect to be taken seriously. It starts very strong, balancing well the comedy and the extreme violence, and has some great moments throughout but unfortunately deflates as the movie progresses. We spend the whole movie waiting to see Mike’s full potential and when he finally does, the movie ends and is replaced by a cartoon, so we never get to see him being a 100% badass, which is a wasted opportunity.