“American Ultra”: A classic stoner comedy with a twist


Summer is slowly winding down, the last of the brainless flock of summer movies are gracing the theaters. This week, it’s the stoner-action comedy film “American Ultra.”

Imagine Kevin Smith directing a Jason Bourne movie and you’ll get the basics of what “Ultra” tries to be—an over-the-top, action-packed stoner comedy movie that finagles a bunch of plot ideas into a not-so-obvious, yet entertaining story.

The film stars Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart as two young lovebirds who find themselves in the middle of a bad day.

The first time we meet Mike Howell (Eisenberg), he’s badly beaten and handcuffed to a table in an undisclosed room.

How and why he got to this point in his life is the general plot of the movie.

Howell (Eisenberg) is a laid-back stoner with a serious panic disorder. His small-town life revolves around working in a convenience store, his girlfriend and getting high.

But Mike is not just your average, every day stoner. He also happens to be a well-trained, secret government agent and part of a defunct CIA program.

Mike is the last person one expects to be a killing machine, but, half-baked and armed with nothing but a spoon, he ends up being just that.

His reaction to moments throughout the film provides for some straight-up hilarious moments.

Jesse Eisenberg is nicely cast as Mike. His long, untamed hair and flannel shirts make him a very believable stoner.

Even when he turns into a killing machine, it is pure fun watching him “MacGyver” his way through assassinating random CIA employees.

His romantic counterpart in the movie is his girlfriend, Phoebe (Stewart), who takes care of Mike even though he drags her along for the ride.

But it’s okay, she’s in love with him.

The chemistry between Eisenberg and Stewart is nice and they do have a sort of weird connection that is played out as a sweet romance. But does that mask the weak acting flaws Stewart tends to bring to the script?

I hold very strong opinions on the subject that is Kristen Stewart. But for this review, I will limit my biased feelings to a minimal … okay, maybe not.

I tried to give her a chance. She is, after all, an award-winning actress. But even with a slightly strong character like Phoebe, it doesn’t work.

Somehow, Stewart is able to make it an art form to bring her ticks to every character she plays.

If I watch her bite her lip one more time, I may scream.

From the marketing and the trailers, I expected something different but If you are looking for a fun, chill night at the cinema then go see “American Ultra.” It is entertaining at times and will leave you feeling slightly baked as well.

And if you can’t follow the storyline, don’t worry.

Just sit back, have some popcorn and enjoy Eric Foreman in a suit.

Erin Vierra can be reached at [email protected] or @hippycinephile on Twitter.