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Review: The Adjustment Bureau

‘The Adjustment Bureau” is writer George Nolfi’s debut feature. Known for his spec screenplay Honor Among Thieves (which was adapted into Oceans Twelve), Nolfi shows strength in this all new Philip K. Dick adaptation.

David Norris (Matt Damon), is a young politician running for Senate in New York. Charming, a clear favorite, but haunted by the mistakes of his past, David loses to his opponent. While in the bathroom preparing his concession speech, he runs into a young woman, Elise (Emily Blunt) who is hiding in one of the stalls. After this chance encounter, David goes out to make a speech from the heart, which sets him up for the next election.

We are introduced the the “Adjustment Bureau,” early on, though, their purpose is not quite clear. Harry (Anthony Mackie), apparently a member of this group, is told that David’s coffee has to be spilled on his shirt no later than 7:05am. Harry falls asleep, and David makes the bus, and runs into Elise – an encounter that is not part of the “plan” (more on that later). So now, the Adjustment Bureau has to take actions to put things back in order, and make sure David and Elise never meet again. This is when we are introduced to Richardson, played by John Slattery, who’s just as dry and sarcastic has Roger Sterling on ‘Mad Men.’ A total scene stealer – hard to do when opposite Damon and Blunt.

The film purports that we all have a plan, written long ago by the “Chairman,” and if we deviate, things get out of order. So to keep things on track, certain, influential people, are assigned “case officers,” that make adjustments keeping things in line. As ridiculous as this premise is, its strength is, it doesn’t go into very much detail of who these people are, and why. It just is the way it is, and as the audience, it keeps things in line.

At its core, ‘The Adjustment Bureau,’ is a fantastical date movie. Matt Damon and Emily Blunt have an amazing chemistry, and you truly believe that they want to be together. While advertised as something more along the lines of Bourne Identity meets Inception, the film is much lighter in tone, and actually has some genuine funny moments – a feat owed strictly to the talented Damon.

All in all, I think this film is a great alternative to the pre-Spring season doldrums, and at any other time, I’d recommend it as a rental. But I did enjoy this film quite a bit, its tight, well acted, and all around enjoyable.

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