The Adjustment Bureau

Directed By: George Nolfi

Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Terence Stamp, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, Michael Kelly, and Anthony Ruivivar

I'm a huge fan of Matt Damon.  He's one of the great actors of his generation and has given me some of my favorite films including Good Will Hunting, The Departed, and The Bourne Ultimatum.  He's destined for great things and will definitely have his name etched in cinematic history some day.  He just needs to find that career-defining role that will put him in the company of the greats of all time.  It's out there waiting for him to tackle it.  With that being said, we need to talk about one of his films that won't go down in history as a classic — The Adjustment Bureau.

Representative David Norris (Damon) is in the middle of a heated race for the New York Senate seat. Some bad press comes out about some of his antics in the past such as getting into bar fights and mooning old college buddies at reunions.  The electorate doesn't take too kindly to these displays of immaturity and votes for the other guy.  While David is practicing his concession speech in the bathroom, he hears someone and asks who's there.  A woman named Elise comes out of hiding from one of the stalls.  The two start chatting about why she is in the men's room, and sparks fly.  Afterward, David makes one hell of a concession speech that makes him the frontrunner for the next Senate race.  Some time later, David is starting the next chapter of his life away from politics.  On his way to work, he gets on a bus and runs into Elise.  As they flirt with one another, sparks fly again, and David realizes that he may be in love.  The only problem is that he wasn't supposed to see Elise ever again after that fateful night in the bathroom. 

An agency known as the Adjustment Bureau was supposed to ensure that he never got on that bus.  Clearly, they dropped the ball.  He gets her number and heads to work.  When he gets there, he finds that a strange group of men have taken over the building and are doing something very questionable to his motionless friend Charlie (Michael Kelly).  These men then take David hostage and tell him all about the Bureau and how it's the way by which the Chairman (a.k.a. God) ensures that mankind operates according to the plan.  That plan doesn't include David and Elise being together though.  They tell him that he can never see her again.  David doesn't take that so well.  He decides to fight against all odds and try to rewrite his fate so that he can be with Elise.

The Adjustment Bureau has a lot going for it, but it has a few big glaring problems as well.  With a great cast and a solid premise, director George Nolfi does nail one aspect of the film particularly well — the romance.  With the lovable Matt Damon and the talented Emily Blunt, viewers are definitely treated to some enjoyable, charming performances.  Blunt and Damon have some great chemistry on screen that almost overshadows the film's flaws...almost.

The big problem with The Adjustment Bureau is its screenplay.  It gets in the way of some potentially great filmmaking.  Nolfi, who also wrote the film, pulls a lot of ridiculous crap in the movie that I just can't ignore.  Parts of the storyline are terribly written.  For example, David tries to find the Chairman so that he can get the plan rewritten.  Who the hell thinks they can just stroll down the street and find the Man Upstairs? Nolfi dropped the ball there.  Some of the dialogue was utterly idiotic.  While they're being chased by the Bureau, Elise stops to question why they're running and from whom they're running.  David replies that all she needs to know is that they're being chased.  If someone told me to run simply because I'm being chased, that's my exit cue.  At that point, I'm going solo.  I can't believe Nolfi let this nonsense make it to production.  These sorts of problems take a great deal away from The Adjustment Bureau.

Despite some very questionable filmmaking, I get the messages that George Nolfi is trying to send in The Adjustment Bureau.  Love is the most powerful force on Earth, and we must fight for the freedom to choose our own fate.  That's all good stuff.  It's just that he doesn't deliver these messages that well.  The Adjustment Bureau is a good movie that could have been great.  Fortunately for us, we don't have to sit there and passively watch Nolfi squander this potential. With a few glasses of champagne, you won't even notice the film's flaws.  The Adjustment Bureau gets a 0.06% rating.