Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau (Of Snazzy Hats)

(So I tried to write this last night and fell asleep at the computer. Here's take two)

Hello computer-peoples! (And Jeff Bridges, because he's in every computer everywhere, or so Tron tells me). A couple things: firstly, Simon correctly identified the banner quote as a line from the quirky Wes Anderson flick (is there any other kind?) Rushmore. Unfortunately, I just got my stuff down for Spring Break and I haven't set my tablet up yet and it is late and I am tired, so you'll get it tomorrow night, Simon, if you can find it in your heart to forgive me. Second, the extremely humorous if slightly deranged Paul F. wrote some very nice things about me. You should go see him, he is what we in the business call a rad dude.

So I saw The Adjustment Bureau tonight and can't think of a single lead-in that's not an awful pun.

But man wouldn't it suck if this was just a movie about accountants?

So I wasn't expecting a whole lot from this one, so maybe because I lowered my expectations beforehand I actually ended up enjoying it a fair amount. Perhaps my expectations were...adjusted?

Told you it was a bad pun.

Anyway, the movie centers on Matt Damon's character, congressman David Norris. David has just lost the bid for Senate, but when writing his concession speech in the men's room (yeah, ok), he meets Elise, played by Emily Blunt, who is hiding from security because she crashed a wedding at the same hotel. Sounds a bit dumb but the important thing is that they instantly fall in love because why not. However, it is a fleeting thing and as Elise flees from security, David realizes he doesn't even know her name and will mostly like never see her again.


Of course he does! David magically bumps into Elise on a bus where they continue to flirt awkwardly and somehow by him spilling coffee on her and she dropping his phone in said coffee they decide they are soul mates.

Because surely, this is the face of unforgettable on-screen chemistry

Anyway, David gets her number and is flying high until suddenly, some fashionably-hatted individuals mug him and bring him to a mysterious warehouse. They are the Adjustment Bureau, and are responsible for all of humanity's major decisions and choices, nudging it along if it doesn't adhere to "the plan." They have mystical powers and live "a lot longer than humans"

They're kind of like angels, if heaven was the show Mad Men

And speaking of Mad Men, John Slattery from the show plays Richardson, a member of the Bureau who captures David to tell him that although they had arranged for him to meet Elise the first time so she could inspire him to write a brilliant campaign speech, he was never supposed to meet Elise again and is going against "the plan", mostly on behalf of his personal Adjustment Dude, Harry, played by Anthony Mackie, who made David spill his coffee at the wrong time. So the Bureau scares the balls out of David, explaining to him about their secret, making him swear to keep them a secret and stay away from Elise under pain of a complete memory wipe and personality erase. And so he never sees her again.

Jk lol

David manages to stay away for a whole three years before magically bumping into Elise AGAIN, proving this Bureau is kind of sucky at their job. Well now David's convinced their soulmates and he will stop at nothing to stay with Elise, dodging all the Fate-altering tricks of Richardson and Harry, until they bring out the big guns.

The Terence Stamp guns

This legend of villainous over-acting is called Thompson and he's ready to keep David and Elise apart no matter how emotionally and psychologically damaging it is to both of them (the answer is very). So if David and Elise want to stay together despite fate, destiny and the Force, they must escape the Bureau members and defy the plan of the mysterious Chairman who-totally-is-not-God-or-anything-what-are-you-crazy?

On the bright side, he picks up a sweet new hat

The Adjustment Bureau, based (very loosely, I'm sure) on a Philip K. Dick story, is an interesting concept with a little half-baked "fate vs free will" debate thrown in but it is first and foremost a predictable romance movie. Which is mildly disappointed. Damon and Blunt are both fine on their own, but don't really have the spark of a couple who's love is fighting against the universe. Still, the visuals are neat, the concept is interesting enough to carry you through most of the movie and the Bureau members themselves are much more fascinating than the main couple. Also, the soundtrack, by Thomas Newman, is pretty awesome. While not Magical-Pony good, The Adjustment Bureau is nonetheless worth a watch I think, and earns three fedora's out of five.

This is Sugary Cynic, sad that my hat can't bend the fabric of reality. 'Night!

(At the end of the movie)

Harry: (Takes the fedora off David's head) "I'm gonna need this back now"


  1. This sounds like it's right up my street, but I'm worried that I'm going to be mildly disappointed like you.

  2. You know what sucks? Even Fate is a bureaucracy. Fucking hell.

  3. Wow! I noticed my name in links with compliments and everything! After that, I just sort of floated through the review; which seemed like it was really good through my dreamlike haze... You're swelltacular!

  4. Chris: I think you'll dig it. It won't rock your world but it is a really interesting concept they're working with

    Simon: Pretty much

    Paul: And awesometastic, that too :p


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