Movie Review: American Ultra is Not So Ultra

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Note: While most of the writing on this blog is by me (Michelle), my friend Chantal Roberts wrote this review. All opinions are hers. Enjoy!

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American Ultra

My partner in crime and I had the chance to see American Ultra, which stars Jessie Eisenberg as the stereotypical stoner guy, Mike, who has an equally typical stoner girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristen Stewart).

Mike, well known by the local law for his chronic usage, saves up enough to give his dutiful girlfriend a well-deserved trip. Unfortunately, he’s a stoner with an anxiety issue. Things change when he meets Agent Lassiter (Connie Britton), a government agent who was once in charge of a special program. Once she spouts off more incoherent words than his fried mind can handle, Mike realizes he’s an expert of unlikely weapons, with a past as a deadly operative.

American Ultra -  Jessie and Kristen

The overall action was enjoyable. For some reason more and more movies are relying on CGI for blood spatter, which I find lazy and frustrating, but, unlike most movies and shows whose characters always seem to be spotless after a barrage of shiny, computer produced blood (I’m looking at you, “The Walking Dead”!), this movie at least has a progression of stained shirts and damage to the character’s faces that properly reflects the ordeal that Mike and Phoebe have been through.

The characters that Eisenberg and Stewart play are so organic, it’s difficult to believe they weren’t just being themselves. I’m also 99% sure that Stewart wore her own clothes to the filming location. Wardrobe and make-up probably shrugged and said “Screw it, she’s ready,” allowing them ample time to work on Eisenberg’s wig for the movie. (Seriously, it looked like the kind of wig that comes with a hobo costume). Bad wig aside, the humor was really well done. A lot of it was beautifully subtle, left up to the physical mannerisms of Eisenberg and items in the background.

American Ultra - Walton, Kristen and Topher

Upside: Topher Grace’s character, Adrian Yates. Grace has this ability to still come off as likeable despite being a prick. Jessie Eisenberg was also a joy. He really plays to his strengths in this film. He may always be “The Awkward Guy” or “Awkward Stoner Guy,” but it works for him. This movie also nearly made me like Kristen Stewart… nearly.

Downside: The “Tough Guy” called Laugher (Walton Goggins) was like the generic Kool-aid version of The Joker. His forced psychotic laughter felt incredibly forced. He seemed beyond his comfort zone. John Leguizamo (Rose) felt more like a caricature of a drug dealer. I half expected him to suddenly drop the Ebonics, put on some reading glasses, and surprise everyone with how non-drug dealeresque he is, but sadly, that did not happen. The other downside is that it nearly made me like Kristen Stewart.

American Ultra - John and Jessie

After the movie, they gave us all a cup of noodles. Did you know the sodium in those things is 75% the daily value? Pretty sure they should have given defibrillators with each cup.

Would I see American Ultra again in theaters? Not really. This is more of an “I’ll wait until it’s at Redbox” kind of movie.

American Ultra is now in theaters. For more information on the movie, visit

Here is the official trailer:

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About Chantal Roberts

Chantal is an aspiring screenwriter. A native of Florida, she's traveled from coast to coast, and lives with her fiancé and their son.

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