Blending action and comedy and rolling it up into a slim but long blunt, American Ultra is a very entertaining movie. Stoner movies, you can’t live without them but you can’t live without them. Wait, there’s something wrong here. Wait, there’s nothing wrong here, I’m just a stoner. Hence all the love towards a story like this. However, I think that this movie should work regardless of your status. Mostly because it doesn’t fit the definition of a stoner comedy very well. While the start of the movie is heavy on the that type of content, as the story progresses, it slowly fades into the black.
The script was written by Max Landis, son of John Landis of his Animal House, The Blues Brothers, and Into the Night fame. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, he also directed a little flick that goes by the name of An American Werewolf in London. It would seem that talent runs in this family. I know I’ve said some nasty things about Kristen Stewart (Snow White and the Huntsman, Twilight) but she totally redeemed herself with American Ultra. She was sexy, smart, and acted really good, I guess it took some time to shake off that Twilight vibe. Check her out in Underwater to see just how freaking good was she. Jesse Eisenberg was, well Jesse Eisenberg, a role he knows best.
The story is a mix of Bourne and Kick-Ass with the action more resembling the latter. The second part of the movie contains some pretty gory and bloody scenes, all for your viewing pleasure. Granted, I feel like the action didn’t escalate to the desired levels but that’s just a minor complaint.
And I kind of wish there was more stuff related to the weed. I guess that’s it when it comes to the complaint department. With a running time of just under ninety minutes, you simply won’t have time to reach for your phone.
Mike Howell got his life figured out. He lives in a small town, working in a local store and spending most of his time getting stoned. Stoned with his girlfriend Phoebe. His panic attacks prevent him from leaving town, but that’s about to change when he finds out about the secret CIA project…
With impeccable pacing that I didn’t expect from two guys who made Project X and Chronicle, American Ultra just flows. There’s little you can hold against this type of movie when it comes to the storyline that’s even better than you would expect, dancing on the edge of parody and surreal.
Cue character development to the rescue. They really saved a story with their chemistry and made us Mike and Phoebe very lovable. American Ultra is not a perfect movie, but it’s a very enjoyable and entertaining experience, especially if you like these types of movies.
Finally, if you’re looking for similar movies, I recommend you check out our Rabbit Reviews selection of Stoner Movies. By the way, have you heard of the real American Ultra program, check it out here: Project MKUltra. And I don’t think I need to tell you about the Nazis and methamphetamines’ or LSD experiments. So, if you want to dive a bit deeper into this Rabbit Reviews hole, feel free to do so.
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Writer: Max Landis
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman
Fun Facts: As a promotional stunt, Lionsgate gave away free marijuana at the San Diego Comic Con to anyone with a medical marijuana card.