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March 4, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

The Adjustment Bureau, critics are quick to explain in their reviews, has nothing to do with insurance. Based on a Philip K. Dick short story, it’s about a group of shady characters (angels?) who make certain that individuals do not monkey with the destiny that has been contrived for them all their lives, the individuals in this case being the characters played by Matt Damon — a politician destined to become a great president — and by Emily Blunt — destined to become a great dancer. What could interfere with that destiny is falling in love with each other, and the adjustment bureau is at work to make sure that doesn’t happen. That concept, writes Claudia Puig in USA Today, “is compelling enough, a sort of Inception-lite, but the plot holes take it off course.” Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times agrees, although he calls the movie “an intriguing entertainment.” Its “central concept is certainly ingenious,” Turan says, “but the details are a little wonky and don’t stand up to too much scrutiny.” Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times performs a little scrutiny on the destiny-vs-free-will plot and concludes that the filmmakers were simply reluctant to “follow its implications too far.” Says Ebert: ““The Adjustment Bureau is a smart and good movie that could have been a great one if it had a little more daring.” But Manohla Dargis in the New York Times argues that if screenwriter-turned-writer/director George Nolfi “doesn’t go deep in The Adjustment Bureau, drilling down to where it hurts (he would rather entertain than pain you), he skates on the gray-blue surfaces of his film with confidence.” And Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune concludes that the movie “works on an interesting scale and a disarmingly gentle spirit.”