Much like Pineapple Express, American Ultra is a stoner’s take on the action genre. This film features Jesse Eisenberg, a total cutie, and Kristen Stewart, who gives a surprisingly not horrible performance. Actually, I really like her in this film.
While the film pokes fun at the absurdity of the genre, it does so without being overbearing or unenjoyable. It isn’t quite a parody, but toes the line just enough. It is also a quirky take on the genre, with a main character that simultaneously struggles with paralyzing anxiety and can slaughter 17 people single handedly.
The violence bears a Tarrentino-esque gore. It doesn’t seem to serve a purpose, though. The endless gunshots and very visual blood spatter quickly became tedious, but that comes with the territory in a film like this. Topher Grace’s villain was perhaps my least favorite aspect of the whole film. His sexism lacked any humor, and just made me uncomfortable. Is there a quota for how many times you can call a woman a dog in a film? While it’s obvious that this language is not okay, it is never really addressed as sexist. To make such a point of having such obscenely sexist dialogue it should have been accompanied with at least some acknowledgement.
Overall, this film is a solid choice for a lighthearted laugh and a little under two hours of entertainment. Maybe not a good choice for a family night (I made this mistake), but a fun watch with friends. I found it on Hulu, for those interested!