So American Ultra is a stoner comedy action spy movie that makes the mistake of not actually being a stoner comedy… or much of a comedy for that matter. In fact, for a supposed stoner comedy, it’s extremely violent and bloody and there’s only cursory nods to the stoner part (I’m not super fond of stoner comedies but I know one isn’t one when I don’t see it… or something like that).
In this flick, Jesse Eisenberg plays a stoner in West Virginia who finds out one night that he’s a sleeper agent super spy for the CIA… so deep undercover, he doesn’t even know he’s an agent. A bad guy CIA operative (played by Topher Grace, don’t ya know) decides (for some reason) to scrub the program and sends in assassins and things go south quickly. Only his good guy handler – Connie Britton for some reason – can save him!
Part of the movie is a kind of deranged romance between Eisenberg and his girlfriend played by Kristen Stewart. They kind of make the movie work a little bit… their relationship and the hardships they encounter are actually pretty good drama… for a supposed stoner comedy.
And, yes, it’s occasionally a decent comedy and it occasionally has decent action scenes but its all too few and far between. There’s something decent about this movie but I think it’s too mean spirited and gory for its marketing and it never becomes what it wants to be, due partially to its budget.