CineMarter
American Ultra - Stoner Comedy with 420 Seconds of Action

Matthew Parkinson | 22 Aug 2015 12:00
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It's something you watch on late-night cable when you're too tired - or otherwise unable to divert much attention toward the screen - to do anything else but lie in bed.

In fact, most of American Ultra functions like that. Will it give you a moderate amount of entertainment for 90 minutes? Sure. Will you remember much of it afterward? Nope. It's a distraction. It's something you watch on late-night cable when you're too tired - or otherwise unable to divert much attention toward the screen - to do anything else but lie in bed. There's not much reason to see it at the cinema, especially since it's not the kind of movie where the theatrical screen and giant speakers are much of a benefit.

The best parts of American Ultra come from the scenes shared between Eisenberg and Stewart, who were good together in Adventureland and are perhaps even better here, even though their romance winds up being more of a subplot than a main focus. They have tremendous chemistry together, and just watching them go back and forth with one another is worth seeing. I mean, you'd be better off just (re)watching Adventureland for that, since it has more of this element and is just a better movie in general, but if you do see American Ultra, at least you get to see Eisenberg and Stewart play off each other for a while.

American Ultra is a partial success, even if it doesn't require a theatrical viewing. It has some humor, it has one good action scene - and a lot of action that you'll forget as soon as it's over - and a couple of good actors in leading roles. It's a diversion, a distraction, a digression; it's something that you watch to kill a couple of hours and then likely never think about again. There's a market for movies like these, and there's an audience, too. But it's a movie whose legacy will be from late-night cable viewings, not from whatever it makes at the box office.

Bottom Line: A distraction movie, American Ultra is a movie to watch when you don't want to think too hard and need to kill a couple of hours.

Recommendation: American Ultra will find its audience on late-night cable. Watch it there.

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If you want more of Matthew "Marter" Parkinson, you can follow him on the Twitter @Martertweet and check out his weekly movie podcast.

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