Written and directed by George Nolfi
Two and a half stars
Starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, John Slattery, Anthony Mackie, Terrence Stamp
“The Adjustment Bureau” starts with a nifty concept: Unbeknownst to us, our fates are controlled by an organization of men in snappy suits who’ve mapped out our destinies in schematic plans. Should someone stray from their path, men from the Adjustment Bureau are dispatched to set things back on track.
One such strayer is David Norris (Matt Damon), a rising politician and a major thorn in the Adjustment Bureau’s side. When one of his case agents (Anthony Mackie) flubs up, David accidentally walks in on the bureau in the process of making an adjustment. Men in suits, led by John Slattery, kidnap David and give him two choices: Don’t tell a soul about their existence, or have his memory erased. Oh, and do not — repeat, do not — try to track down the dancer (Emily Blunt) he fell in love with after a chance encounter.
To no one’s surprise, David tracks down the dancer. As their gooey courtship unfolds, men over at the Adjustment Bureau scramble — comically, at times — to break the two up, subjecting the lovebirds to a chaotic pursuit by a seemingly omnipresent foe.
“The Adjustment Bureau” is fleet and ambitious, and between Damon, Blunt, Slattery and Mackie, the movie gets by on a big dose of charm. The sci-fi logistics are hardly airtight, though, and you’ll likely find yourself wishing for more nuts-and-bolts details on the Adjustment Bureau — how it works and why it exists. Explanations are delivered, but they’re largely shoehorned into the final half-hour.
Things get interesting when the movie offers a cynical final-act take on romance, but the so-so love story only eclipses what could have been an intriguing sci-fi flick.