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No wonderful life for Damon

By Staff | Mar 30, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

Call it karma or a twist of fate, but many believe that life’s journey is impacted by forces out of their control.

“Adjustment Bureau” mixes the “fate” aspect with “guardian angel” concepts for an unpredictable and philosophically challenging look at who exactly is in control.

Conceptually, man has screwed up the world so much (world wars, nuclear threats) that now everyone walks in the pathway of a prearranged “plan” developed by a higher power known as the Chairman. When humans deviate dramatically from that which is preordained, lower level executives arrive to correct the problem.

No, “It’s a Wonderful Life” here, rather, an ongoing “hey, give me the power of free will and if I mess up, so be it.”

Based on a short story by Philip (“Blade Runner,” “Total Recall,” “Minority Report”) Dick, Matt Damon is in the leading role as ambitious politician David Norris, who’s a shoe-in for a U.S. Senate seat. On the night of his victory, he meets and falls for beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), who’s hiding out in behind a stall in the men’s restroom, avoiding those who would remove her from the Waldorf for crashing a wedding.

Damon and Blunt have quintessential chemistry, so no matter how hard the shadowy adjusting angels intervene, the two keep finding each other amongst the millions in NYC. The Bureau initially burns the paper with her phone number on it, but eventually the two meet again, resolve the ‘no call’ and once again spout once-in-a-lifetime chemistry.

But, meeting and marrying her is not part of the plan which would place Damon’s character in the White House.

This picture will leave you gasping, laughing and thinking, even as its “fantasy” elements increasingly remove concept from drama and into science fiction.

Score kudos for the magical doors that provide short cuts for those wearing hats, but those aimless pedestrians would likely have a suspicion concerning these elusive jumps and the middle age men chasing a hand holding couple.

Left unexplored, whether these “plans” occur for everyone alive or just for those who may have a positive or negative impact on humanity, that’s unclear. But the intervening higher power has theological basis, so the extinct of free will and “Chairman’s will” have intellectual challenges both for fantasy and religious viewers.

“Adjustment” gains four out of five stars, particularly for maintaining the story’s limitation to one man and one woman. The intimacy allows for empathy and sophomoric blasphemous rebellions on a soul for soul level.