ByJames Porter, writer at
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James Porter

Store clerk Mike Howell spends his days smoking pot, drawing comic books and talking to his girlfriend Phoebe. Unbeknownst to him, he's an inactive secret agent and when he's put into commission by a rogue CIA operative the CIA target him for extermination.

Oscar Nominee Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) is known for playing a lot of similar roles; the fast talking, awkward, anxiety filled nerd and his role in American Ultra is no different, he gives a fine performance, he handles the material well and was for the most part believable in the role but it's nothing we've not seen before which is a statement that stands for the whole film; it's nothing original.

Nima Nourizadeh whose only other directing credit is the 2012 party movie Project X directs this stoner-action comedy and has unfortunately crafted one of the most dull, pointless and boring movies of the entire year.

Mike is an anxiety filled stoner with a girlfriend he intends to marry, but those plans may have to go on hold when he's involuntarily put into action to defend he and his girlfriend from the CIA who see him as a threat.

My really big issue with American Ultra is that I was never invested in the story, I didn't care about the characters, their relationship or the dangerous situations they were in because it felt like even the filmmakers didn't give a damn. The film also never decides what it wants to be; stoner comedy, action thriller or romantic drama? So many different genres are thrown around and not one of them sticks, it's constantly searching for the right tone and can't seem to discover it during it's short yet plodding 99 minute run time.

Much like The Bourne Identity, our protagonist has to discover himself and what happened to him to make him such a killing machine, the trouble is, The Bourne Identity did it with such grace, care and effort, American Ultra however feels unfocused, lousy and overall incredibly pointless. Not even Eisenberg's and Kristen Stewart's (Still Alice) excellent chemistry could save this poorly directed flick. Max Landis (Chronicle) who wrote the script doesn't necessarily have bad dialogue in his screenplay here but it's the story that is just completely uninteresting.

Topher Grace (Spider-Man 3) plays the CIA agent in charge of hunting down Mike and he fit the role well, it's just the character he was playing was almost unbearable to watch. Connie Britton (Me & Earl & The Dying Girl) gives a decent performance as the rogue CIA agent who sends Mike into action and Bill Pullman (Independence Day) makes a nice but unnecessary cameo as the head of the CIA.

The final action scene which takes place in a supermarket was entertaining, it was decently shot and well paced, but up until that final 10 minutes, the film is a complete bore. I really recommend missing American Ultra, it's one that you may enjoy if you come across it on cable someday, but it's not worth the price of admission.

Have you seen American Ultra? If so, what did you think about it? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97


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