‘The Adjustment Bureau’ needs calibration

2/5 pitchforks

Matt Damon, Emily Blunt


March 4, 2011

Life is full of seemingly irrelevant choices, one of those being the ways in which the world around us operates. Be you a believer that fate or freewill alone governs all that we experience, the gears behind the great clock of time move either way.

In this most recent adaptation of yet another Philip K. Dick short story, “The Adjustment Bureau” attempts to reveal a world to us that few would expect to find, let alone want to.

In the film, Matt Damon plays the young and charismatic could-be Sen. David Norris from the great state of New York, if only he could learn to control his wild ways. After meeting the beautiful free spirit Elise (Emily Blunt) during a chance encounter in the men’s restroom, Norris embarks on the pursuit of a love that cannot be.

Surprising as it might be to hear, actual chemistry between the two seemed present. The banter was playful enough, and each maintained a stare upon the other that conveyed to some small degree legitimate fondness.

Sadly, where both Damon and Blunt show potential with their on-screen romance, first time director George Nolfi decides to instead emphasize the absurdity of his story with the audience. Where men in funny hats run around with iPad-like devices ensuring that everything goes according to plan, the real story of two lives coming together falls to the wayside.

Having also written for both “Ocean’s Twelve” and “The Borne Ultimatum,” Nolfi stays close to home working with Damon yet again. While the third time is reportedly the charm, this mangled directorial debut attempts to do too much, while amazingly producing nothing.

Focus, obviously, was one of the many missing ingredients. Where elements of science-fiction and suspense-thriller can and have been forged together properly to include romance, “The Adjustment Bureau” instead only alludes to the possibility of their presence. Too much is left hanging from scene to scene, and yet still not enough to compel one to reach out in an attempt to try and understand.

Like “Inception,” several scenes are wasted in the dull explanation of the horribly constructed world in which the audience is forced to inhabit. Merely introducing a world within the one we think to be does not immediately warrant our praise. From there, cast and crew must work tirelessly on this world within a world’s development, and the surest way to achieve this is to avoid over-explanation.

They say that tune-ups are a good thing every once in awhile, for automobiles at least. Where this story’s origin might be well-rooted, its present stage is in serious need of further adjusting, if not pruning, before admittance should be allowed.

Reach the reporter at jbfortne@asu.edu

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