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Movie reviews: 'Turning Red' and 'The Adam Project' bring the family-viewing fun to your favorite streaming services

Pixar rarely misses. Neither does Ryan Reynolds. So how do each of these entities' latest family-friendly and stream-ready offerings stack up?
Credit: Pixar/Disney
The latest offering from Pixar, 'Turning Red' tells the story of a young girl going through some changes.

DALLAS — Well, no big studios wanted to go up against "The Batman" at the box office last week. Which totally makes sense.

But, with that big opening now out of the way, two new family-friendly movies are now streaming as this weekend arrives.

Let's take a look at if they're worth your watch.


Teen angst becomes a fur-flying odyssey in "Turning Red," the latest Pixar animated movie released by Disney.

Here, a 13-year-old overachiever named Meilin suddenly wakes up, looks in the mirror and sees that she's transformed into a giant red panda -- a change that makes a zit seem almost bearable! 

Problem is, the transformation seems to happen any time her emotions flare. Classmates go from completely shocked at the changes Meilin's enduring to exploiting her as a novelty. (Shades of "Teen Wolf," perhaps?) 

So, OK, home come her mom isn't surprised by all these developments? Well, turns out this morphing gene runs in the family, and if Meilin can hold on, an ancient ritual just might drive that panda spirit away from the family line. 

One problem: The ritual is set to go down on the same night as a can't-miss boy band concert. Can Miss Perfect lie to her mom? Does she really have to be perfect all the time? Or can she have some space to explore the young woman she might like to be?

"Turning Red" is the brainchild of the Canadian-Chinese writer and director Domee Shi, and it's based on her own experiences growing up in Toronto. The film presents multiple generations of women dealing with some intimate issues, and while the mystical part might lose some younger kids, the film overall deals directly and well with mother-daughter disputes -- not to mention a girl's burden not to disappoint. 

As the movie says: "We all have an inner beast." And, sometimes, you just gotta let it out! 

(Disney-Pixar. Rated PG. Running Time 1 hr. 40 mins. Streaming on Disney+.)


First, Ryan Reynolds reunites with the director of his hit movie, "Free Guy" to meet up with his younger self in "The Adam Project." 

The sci-fi-lite film begins in 2050. Reynolds plays a rogue fighter pilot trying to travel back in time to save the future. He aims for 2018, but winds up in 2022, where he finds his younger self in the form of a wise-cracking kid played by the darling Walker Scobel. (OK, Reynolds is darling, too.) If you like Reynolds' sense of humor, this kid's a carbon copy! 

As the movie progresses, older Adam brings his junior sidekick along on his mission to get to 2018 and stop his nemesis, played by Catherine Keener, from setting time travel in motion -- because, y'know, bad things can happen. 

Oh yeah, and Reynolds' wife is caught in the time warp, too! She's played well by Zoe Saldana.

If it all seems like "Back to the Future," it kinda is! Plus, there are fights with pseudo-light sabers as a nod to "Star Wars." And, in a reunion of "13 Going on 30" castmates, Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner play Adam's parents.

No, "The Adam Project" is not as clever as "Free Guy." It probably belonged in the straight-to-streaming slot it received, even if it wasn't a pandemic move. But the repartee between the older and younger Adams are fun. 

Hey, quick wit saves the game any day! 

And there are some genuinely touching moments about fathers and sons here, too, especially when Ruffalo is looped in.

(Netflix. Rated PG-13. Running Time 1 hr. 46 mins. Streaming on Netflix.)

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