Monday, September 19, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau

It was simple to see that those people who prepare the trailers for The Adjustment Bureau had no idea how to explain what it was really all about. I can understand their problem.

Matt Damon is running for political office. He seems to have all the tools: good looks, people with money backing him, youth. But something happens, and his campaign is derailed. Then he learns, quite accidentally, that his run was doomed. Someone out there didn't want him to succeed. And when that same fatalism interferes with his love life, he starts doing a little interfering of his own.

The movie is based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick. And like all movies based on short stories, this one is short on details, on real explanations. When you're dealing with armies of people who can control your life by changing the obstacles in your way, or perhaps the way your boss thinks, maybe you don't want to know too much. Like to whom they report. The scriptwriter (director Nolfi) attempts to explain all of that away with something we've heard for about 50 years in science fiction now: "You humans were obviously on a destructive path. So we came in to save you." That doesn't really do it for me.

Still, it's a great romp, at least for about an hour. Most of the filling in of story has to do with him running from a group of fedora-wearing men in suits headed up by John Slattery, perfect for the role. And when Slattery fails, they bring in Terrence Stamp wearing another sharp-looking hat. I don't know about you, but I'd be scared.

Damon gives it his best, along with Emily Blunt as the love interest, but in the reality of the situation, there's no there there.

Thumb's down.