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American Ultra

A quirky — and violent — comedy about a sleeper agent operating as a stoner

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A pair of weed-indulging slackers — Mike (Jesse Eisenberg) and Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) — enjoy a quiet life in a small West Virginia town. Until Mike, who unbeknownst to himself is a super-deadly sleeper agent for the CIA, is in short order: targeted by Langley for extermination by a new manager (Topher Grace) and re-activated as a killer by his former handler (Connie Britton). So, it’s one deeply confused (and still stoned) assassin defending himself quite adeptly against other deadly agents (one memorable kill is via spoon), while also trying to lock down his relationship with his girlfriend. Nima Nourizadeh’s dark comedy supplies enough twists and turns (and laughs) to make this decent-enough late-summer entertainment. And there’s fun supporting work from John Leguizamo and Walton Goggins (Justified). The ultra-violence is a bit wearying, and the film could have been shorter (it takes a bit to get its wacky groove going.) But at least it proves some stoners can get stuff done.


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