The Adjustment Bureau is a fantastical look at a politician who discovers that his entire life has been planned out, and what happens when he deviates from the plan. Matt Damon stars as a man who accidentally discovers that his life has been planned out fro greatness. No problem, except that the girl that he likes can ruin his life plan and hers of he deviates from the path.
The people in charge of the planning and guiding of people throughout life are a race of higher beings that call themselves the Bureau. It is their job to make sure that everyone follows their specific plan to the letter, and to make Men In Black style memory corrections when problems come up. It is up to Matt Damon to challenge his destiny by pursuing the girl of his dreams, and by going toe to toe with the mysterious Bureau along the way.
The movie is pretty much what you would get if you rolled together Men in Black, Hancock, and The Manchurian Candidate. Yeah, I just blended those. It’s an interesting story for sure, and the acting is well done and the characters are likable.
The attention to theme is also commendable. The presence of the Bureau is something that is always present, and there are some really cool shots that happen at key points in the film. The movie nicely raises questions that involve destiny and predetermination, but it does beat you over the head with the Bureau metaphor. A lot. Those of you who haven’t seen it, look away now.
Matt Damon discovers that the Bureau has been controlling the entire course of human history, and that they are a collection of higher beings who have a man upstairs (literally) who is in charge of the overarching plan. Yes, the Bureau is a physical metaphor for angels and God. And the writers want to make sure that you get that, so they chuck in metaphors like that nonstop throughout. Wheeee.
All in all, The Adjustment Bureau is pretty good. It’s nothing really revolutionary or anything, but it’s well worth watching. If it wasn’t for a few cliched things present, it would have been really good. There are just a couple of things that they so obviously lifted from other sources that is was a bit derivative. Also, they decided to pursue the ultimate cliche of having the unique and quirky hot girl with an attitude and playful side that meets the protagonist under silly circumstances, and proceeds to change his heart with her quirkiness.
Seriously, Hollywood. We get that it’s the dream of many men to meet the perfect woman like that. But just because it was fun in one movie doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea to saturate every single freaking movie with this overdone cliche.
All in all, I’d heartily recommend that people either Redbox or Netflix this movie, and then cross it off the “To Watch” list.