THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU - Sparkling Chemistry
THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (sci-fi romance)
Cast: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, Michael Kelly, Terence Stamp, Donnie Keshawarz and David Bishins
Director: George Nolfi
Screenplay: Nolfi, based on a short story by Philip K. Dick
Time: 99 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: Fate, coincidence and free will come at odds with one another in this sci-fi romance re-imagined by George Nolfi from the short story, Adjustment Team, by sci-fi legend Philip K. Dick. Nolfi's plot can go from interesting and intriguing to downright silly at times but the main attraction is not the narrative. It is the pulsating chemistry between lead stars Matt Damon and the sensually beguiling Emily Blunt set in all the famous spots of Manhattan and NYC.
Having been to New York City recently, I find the sets nostalgic, and I am defenceless to the charms of Emily Blunt. So I hereby declare my 'bias-ness' to this movie.
THE SKINNY: Young Senate candidate for New York City, David Norris (Damon), is rehearsing his speech in the men's restroom when a beautiful stranger (Blunt, right, with Damon) emerges from one of the stalls and starts chatting with him. Before she leaves - in quite a hurry - they have an impulsive, passionate kiss, and he is smitten. Their next encounter in a city bus has to be by chance - and he learns that her name is Elise. He is determined to call her. To court her...
And then David comes across a bunch of Men in Black suits and hats, led by a Mr Richardson (John Slattery), who says bluntly: "We are the people who make sure things go according to plan." David's relationship with the free-spirited Elise is NOT part of their plan and he must not see her again - for both his and her own good!
HITS AND MISSES: The rest of the movie is, of course, the tussle between Love and Fate for David. After being charmed by Elise, a rising star ballerina, we can understand why David is bent on seeing her. We can also understand how their relationship would possibly wreck their careers - and why David would want to take a chance on that. David and Elise seem so perfect for each other that we root for them.
It is good that Nolfi has written such a romantic angle into this Dick tale instead of turning it into another action flick like Total Recall, Paycheck and Screamers. He could have polished up a bit more on the second half to keep it from becoming childish, though. Still, the notion of Fates personified could not be taken too seriously - and it would be better to just go along with the flow of the love story so charmingly portrayed by Damon and Blunt - and supported by a sympathetic Anthony Mackie and menacing Terence Stamp as members of the Adjustment Bureau.
THE LOWDOWN: A good mix of romance and mystery - and the intoxicating Emily Blunt.