American Ultra review – galumphing stoner action comedy

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart still spark off each other but this highly derivative story of a pothead being pursued by the CIA is a dud

A mashup of Bourne and Clerks, fusing the worst of each into a galumphing stoner action comedy. Jesse Eisenberg plays Mike, a gentle, pothead blazing away his days in a knackered small town, with his girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristen Stewart). The haze rolls on until Mike is activated - switched on by a mysterious woman in black. Turns out he’s an experimental CIA test subject, trained to put flame to more than a blunt. The agency wants him expired. Mike’s life is going to get way intense.

American Ultra - video review

Eisenberg and Stewart’s chemistry hasn’t dimmed since Adventureland, but American Ultra is a boring, irritating film. It strains to be hip and fluid and raw, but it comes across like a Tarantino-addled teenager has been given free rein. Writer Max Landis (son of John) has said the fault for Ultra’s ultra flop at the US box office lies with Hollywood’s “fear of originality”. It would be hard to find a concept more deritive. Nothing wrong with that, but Landis, unlike Mike, doesn’t know how to execute.


Henry Barnes

The GuardianTramp

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