“Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? Matt Damon stars in the thriller The Adjustment Bureau as a man who glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue the only woman he’s ever loved across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York. On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt)—a woman like none he’s ever known. But just as he realizes he’s falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself—the men of The Adjustment Bureau—who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path…or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her.”
The Adjustment Bureau is one of those highly anticipated movies that both critics rated highly (70% on Flixster) and fans even higher (75% on Flixster). It’s Matt Damon and the always true to form Emily Blunt. How can it possibly be wrong? Well for me, it did go wrong.
After Matt Damon’s two successive flops Green Zone and Hereafter, I was a little cautious. I love Matt Damon to death, but it’s obvious that actors just can’t carry movies on their own no matter how talented they are. So despite the bountiful talent Matt and Emily have, The Adjustment Bureau falls flat to me.
Here’s my beef:
If a movie is science fiction, I want it to be science fiction. This movie crosses science, religion and philosophical lines that just doesn’t quite work for me. The ‘adjusters’, people who supposedly intervene to keep our ‘plans’ on track are burdened with 101 rules and limitations that I just don’t know what their use is. In some cases, with the flip with a hand, they can make things happen, such as lift the floor to trip you or nudge a cup of coffee over. They don’t age much and they are fast. They’re alluded to be angels or something similar, yet they also get tired, and fall asleep on the job (really?). They need ‘hats’ to make things happen and they also need to be close to you for it all to work. Worse of all, there isn’t enough of them. Yes, they’ve got hiring issues too, not enough resources to spread around the world. So they can’t watch everyone all the time. To be honest, I just didn’t quite get the concept of the ‘adjusters’ and their elusive Chairman, who’s supposed to be God, the one who makes the plans we’re meant to stick to. That’s all fine, then the dialogue sinks uncontrollably into some mess about fate, free will and all the bad, bad things men do to themselves and the world when they have free will. So every now and then, the Chairman and his adjusters step in and take free will from us. Seriously, if you’re going to take our free will, show me you can take it. I never quite felt that the adjusters had much power or ability to control David Norris’ fate. To me, he seemed ahead of these mysterious people who had the power to direct his life. To me, they never really directed anything. All they really did was wear hats, ran and disappear through doors. Come on, I can do that too.
The second problem I had was, why waste resources and adjusters to keep two people apart? For what? This isn’t a spoiler so don’t worry. It’s about love, and what someone will go through to be with the one they love. I am not a cynic, but I wanted there to be something bigger at stake. Nothing truly terrifying happens, nothing heart pounding happens, no one is really in dire danger. He just wants to be with the one he loves. Okay, really, that’s it? Adjustment Bureau isn’t a thriller. To base the entire quest on love to me was a big mistake. Yeah, love is the greatest of them all, but love exists in the middle of a chaotic and crazy world, and David Norris’ world isn’t particularly chaotic and crazy despite the fact that he has crazy people in hats chasing him. I wasn’t quite rooting for him. I really didn’t care if he got the girl he loved or not. I just didn’t care much, because it didn’t seem like some overwhelming, powerful quest. It’s a tired, done storyline – how far will you go for love? It’s also unrealistic for the most part, but I guess that is meant to be inspiring.
My third problem is with the supposed chemistry between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. One critic stated that this love story would have a complete mess if it wasn’t for the chemistry between Matt and Emily. Uhh, what chemistry? Fine, they looked good together, they’re both beautiful people and there was something about them. But that’s the thing – there was something about them that was just never really explored. We were supposed to believe it was all fate and destiny. Dude meets this girl one night, one time and that’s it, he’s in love forever. I wish they had shown more of them ‘falling’ in love, more of them bonding. They just wanted us to believe they just fell in love. And for some reason, Emily’s accent and dialogue was driving me a little nuts. And a little goes for Matt too. The dialogue just wasn’t as smart and intriguing as I expected it to be. It just wasn’t ‘there.’
The Adjustment Bureau isn’t a bad movie, but it’s not as smart, sophisticated and clever as it could have been. Ah, that’s the word. It just wasn’t particularly clever. It was sappy, when it shouldn’t have been. It was unnecessarily philosophical. I wanted a smart, intriguing thriller and I got none of that. It tried to be a cross between the Notebook and Inception and it didn’t get close. Just my take – as always.
The Adjustment Bureau – B
TV This Week
I’ve been a loyal fan of House for so long that this week I was a little startled when someone at work said she doesn’t watch it anymore. Huh? Doesn’t watch House anymore? How is that possible? But guess what, the very day she said it, I watched a new episode of House and as much as it was possibly the most fun episode in a long while, the end just totally threw me off. TV and movies are getting depressing. I mean, yes I don’t want sappy all the time, but can we please have couples stay together? I’m so sick of it. Can’t House be happy? Yes, he’s a damn addict but come on, dude is trying. He needs a break. SPOILER ALERT: Cuddy found out this week that House took Vicodin in order to deal with the possibility of her dying. Yes, he popped a pill because he was afraid his girlfriend was dying and he couldn’t deal. So what does she do? She breaks up with him. Fantastic. House doesn’t deal with death well and he was struggling. Instead of being understanding about everything he’s tried to do, she leaves him. And the moment she did it, I’ve decided to separate from House, temporarily. I can’t deal with House sinking into a drug-induced state anymore. I liked House remotely happy. I liked House having a girlfriend. He was even more sarcastic and fun. Now, he’s back to pill-popping mania and it’s all Cuddy’s fault. So I’m done.
The Chicago Code
Thankfully, right after House is the Chicago Code. I love, love, this new drama. Cop shows are a dime a dozen, but this show has grit, and depth, and it’s just plain intense. The cast, the storylines and dialogue are fantastic. It’s refreshingly raw and anything can happen. Casting is so important, especially for new shows and the lead guy, Jason Clarke, is perfectly cast as the tough, no nonsense Detective Jarek. He is awesome. He’s not drop dead gorgeous which is perfect, really. He’s manly- sexy, gruff, rough and determined! And Jennifer Beals is perfect in her role as Superintendent Teresa. I’m rooting for her 100%. I’ve got high hopes for The Chicago Code. I hope it stays on track.