A pinch of "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," a dash of "Adventureland," and a dollop of "The Bourne Identity" serve to concoct "American Ultra," a genre-bending stoner comedy that proves most successful as a romantic action-thriller. The director of one of the decade's worst found-footage films—Nima Nourizadeh (2012's "Project X")—and the screenwriter of one of the best—Max Landis (2012's "Chronicle")—have joined forces for a film that is tonally all over the place but also quick and unhinged enough to amuse for an hour and a half. At first glance, Jesse Eisenberg (2015's "The End of the Tour") and Kristen Stewart (2015's "Clouds of Sils Maria") may not be one's imagined first choices to play characters who require they be more broadly acerbic than the usual roles in which they are cast, but they are game participants and exceedingly copacetic as a pair.
Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) and Phoebe Larson (Kristen Stewart) are the perfect fucked-up couple ("She was perfect," says Mike in voiceover, "and I was fucked-up"), small-town West Virginians who get by on working-class jobs, ample marijuana, and each other. Mike wants to take their relationship to the next level and has secretly just bought an engagement ring, but he worries that his longstanding hang-ups and anxieties will continue to hold them back in their modest lives. When Mike is approached during his evening shift at the Cash-N-Carry by a mysterious woman, CIA agent Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton), he is left completely perplexed by the coded message she is trying to send him. Before long, the town has been put into quarantine by government officials—the news talks of a cockamamie typhoid outbreak—and Mike and Phoebe are on the run from a seemingly nonstop arsenal of deadly assassins. As information he never realized he knew and sharp fighting skills he doesn't recall having used before come flooding back, Mike begins to suspect there is a lot about his past that he has yet to discover.
See Dustin Putman, TheFilmFile.com. for full review