The Adjustment Bureau

When the entertainment mags whispered that Universal’s The Adjustment Bureau would be reminiscent of Inception we thought splendid! We couldn’t wait to be wowed by another out of the box story with larger than life potential. However, after viewing The Adjustment Bureau we realized that comparing it to Inception is like complementing the uglier of two sisters by insisting that they both look like one another.

To have more fun with this baseless comparison: if Inception and The Adjustment Bureau were going to the prom, Inception would have a hot date and likely be crowned prom queen. The Adjustment Bureau, however, would spend the entire evening home alone in front of a TV eating peanut butter out of the jar with a serving spoon.

The Adjustment Bureau stars Matt Damon as David Norris, a young up and coming politician with his eyes set on the US Senate. After mysteriously meeting a beautiful young woman Elise (Emily Blunt), Norris discovers that nothing in life is coincidental. Or is it? When forced to choose between true love and sticking to “the plan” Norris chooses love and sets off a chain of events that not only threatens his life, but Elise’s.

As usual, we’ll neglect to give away any story details- especially in this case. If we told you anything we’d be giving away too much. To its credit, The Adjustment Bureau does deliver in the suspense department. You haven’t seen anything like this before and from the opening shot you’re genuinely pulled in by the characters and the world they live in. The fascinating premise dissects the theory of free will and credits the human journey to a secret society of unseen men responsible for keeping us on a pre-determined track. Sounds like a complex thrill ride, right? Well, not so much.

What drives any story is character and conflict. While Damon and Blunt delivered amazing performances- it wasn’t enough. Strangely, the lack of conflict was largely due to the Adjustment Bureau themselves. Quite frankly, they weren’t a threat. We weren’t afraid of them because despite the supposed power they had, they were just like us humans, dense humans at that. Needless to say we weren’t afraid for Norris because we knew he’d eventually outsmart them.  Lets use Michael Myers as an example.

When Michael Myers is chasing/walking after you, you’re gonna die. We know that because even though he’s in human form we’re certain that a bigger power is preventing this guy from dying or having to run in order to catch his victims. Now imagine for a moment if Michael Myers had asthma, a bum leg and for the life of him- couldn’t see out of his left eye. Would you actually be worried that he’d catch the half naked girl running through the woods? No. And neither did we.

The talented actor Anthony Mackie also stars in the film as Harry, Norris’s gatekeeper of sorts. The only thing more confusing than his role in the story was why he was missing from the majority of the film’s previews.

Our biggest bone to pick with The Adjustment Bureau were those haunting lose ends. The movie opened about twenty doors and only closed ten. There were so many opportunities for conflict yet little of them were executed. While Ekemini drifted off to sleep sometime during the second act I remained determined to find out if the film was REALLY going to leave the audience hanging, and it did. Nevertheless, we’d be lying if we said the film was a complete loss. Believe it or not it was a good movie ruined by a bad ending. It pulled Sopranos on us =(

Overall, The Adjustment Bureau is an entertaining ride that is ironically in need of a few adjustments. We didn’t so much want our money back as much as we wanted more excitement, more tragedy and more ANSWERS. For the Matt Damon fans out there, this is sure to rank on the low end of your favorites. Not because it’s a bad movie but because there’s more emotional payoff in the first five minutes of the Bourne trilogy than there is in this entire film. That’s the bad news. The good news however is that Inception is now available on DVD! If all else fails, swing by your local video store (if those still exist) and have DiCaprio finish what Damon and his hat-wielding friends attempted to start. Yeah, we said it.

The Chocolate Review gives The Adjustment Bureau 3 stars out of 5 stars for the following reasons:

  • Great build up with NO release. A real let down of an ending.
  • Awesome performances
  • Multiple unanswered questions and unused potential for better conflict
  • Original idea
  • For not making Anthony Mackie more prevalent in the previews
  • The Hammer who didn’t actually hammer anything =(

4 Comments for “The Adjustment Bureau”

  1. carissa

    Agreed! I enjoyed it, but not my favorite of this year. It wasn’t horrible by any means, it was just missing something in the story. This is one film, I look forward to seeing the remake of when I’m in my 80’s.

    PS. So happy you guys are back and Love the website! Keep it up!

  2. thanks carissa! xoxo

  3. H.B>C

    I really enjoy your reviews! Keep it up

  4. I thank you humbly for shianrg your wisdom JJWY

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