American Ultra

I don’t know a lot about American Ultra. I do know that it has some nice buzz words to get more butts in the seats though.

A lot of big movies have American in the title now. American Sniper destroyed the box office, so people really love American shit. Then we have American Beauty, American Psycho, American Pie, you name it! American to start off your movie is like a golden ticket.

And then of course whe have Ultra. That puts it at the top tier, and it sounds a lot like Ultron. Maybe they want people who love America and love the Avengers to see their film. If they can bring in those two demographics, they would be walking their way over to the billionaire club.

Again, knowing nothing about the movie, this has to be their plan right?

Freeze
“And bring in an established couple from other movies! Like those kids from Adventureland!” – Movie Exec

Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) is a small town, do nothing, stoner. He has never left his West Virginian town and any time he attempts to leave he ends up having a panic idea. The thought of going places just freaks him the fuck out.

Thankfully he has weed. And the love of his life, Phoebe Larson (Kristen Stewart). She is basically perfect and deserves someone way better than him, as he is a constant screw up. But for whatever reason, she loves him back. Even when he kills two men outside of the convenience store that he works.

Shit. Shit shit fuck. He didn’t even know he could kill a man, and technically they attacked him first. He already has enough trouble with the law, weed smoker and all. It has something to do with the strange lady (Connie Britton) who came to his shop and basically said just gibberish. Next thing Mike knows, other strangers are trying to assassinate him and wouldn’t you know it? He can fight back! Magical Stoner Powers activate! Sometimes it can be good to be a government sleeper agent.

Also starring Tony Hale as a CIA employee, Topher Grace as a mean CIA dude, Walton Goggins as a hitman, John Leguizamo as a dealer, Stuart Greer as a sheriff and Bill Pullman as “mysterious CIA man.”

Leguizamo
To John Leguizamo, Thanks For The Drugs, Jesse Eisenberg.

One exciting fact about American Ultra is that it written by Max Landis, who also wrote Chronicle. Huh. Chronicle. The great movie that was directed by Josh Trank, who recently directed a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Fantastic Four movie as his next main project. So weird that two guys who worked on an indie movie both got much bigger movies that were released in the same month three years later.

One thing I hate as a movie watcher is hearing other people echo commonly held complaints that they just regurgitate from the internet, without realizing they never gave it any thought. For example, a very popular “opinion” is that Stewart is terrible and cannot show emotion. People of course got confused with her real self and playing a hated character. For those that think that, they will be happy to know that Stewart shows a lot of emotion in this film: fear, sadness, extreme happiness. She is all over the place. And she also does a fine job.

As for the rest of the movie, American Ultra is a very strange film. Not fully comedy, not fully action, and not really a normal action comedy. And don’t even think it, because it is definitely not a stoner action comedy either, like Pineapple Express. It is a strange mash of all of these genres, and not in a normal or bad way. It reminds me of Red State. Red State was a hard movie to describe, clashing together different genres and keeping you on your toes. This film is of course nothing like the actual Red State, but I think you get my meaning.

American Ultra almost perfectly embodies the 2 out of 4 rating on this website. It is an enjoyable movie yes. Sometimes the jokes work really really well, thanks in a lot to the chaotic nature of a few scenes. And sometimes the movie feels like it drags and you just want to get to the next scene. We call that pacing issues in the biz, and it can make or break or apparently average out a film. But it did have some nice acting from our leads and some pretty slick shots at the same time. It can be worth a watch eventually. I think the people who love it are going to just really love it.

2 out of 4.

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