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24 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

Waste of an afternoon

Author: falting45 from Australia
2 April 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have been a "warmish' Matt Damon fan. Some of his work hasn't been too bad. But this shocker- what was he thinking? When the first incident through the magic door took place I thought we were in for a bit of thuggery -a.k.a- "thriller' even though the protagonists were wearing overcoats, scarves and 1960 hats. But no, just some odd looking people in motor bike helmets who pushed our hero David back into a chair and that was it. The plot was so thin I half expected to see a smoke machine adding a bit of mystery. And the script... words fail me. I must say the collision gave me a jolt, and by the reaction in the cinema I wasn't the only one drifting off with boredom. The movie looked like an adult take on Narnia and the trip through the wardrobe. At least in that movie the costumes and scenery made it worth watching.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

This dime tour of NYC did not impress or entertain

Author: FatMan-QaTFM from United States
23 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This review will contain a few spoilers. Here's the first one: it's mediocre at best.

Philip K. Dick shorts could fuel Hollywood for years. They're nice, well thought out premises that aren't so complicated that they leave viewers confused – movies like Minority Report and Total Recall. However when you put a good short in the hands of someone like George Nolfi, the clown responsible for penning Timeline and Ocean's Twelve, you get The Adjustment Bureau.

The movie starts out as a quirky rom-com with lead man Matt Damon losing a Senatorial election and find comfort in the arms of a flirty girl hiding in the men's room. Such stuff as dreams are made on. He has a chance meeting with her again some time later, but the big twist occurs when he's confronted by the partners of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, told it's just not meant to be and angels will kneecap him if he spills the beans about their big operation. Years later, we get a replay of the situation and it all goes to heck in a knapsack when The Adjustment Bureau says it must not be.

There are a few big problems with how this movie handles the thriller aspects. First, you have to care about characters for any chase or conflict to even matter. We get a slew of sappy Notebook-esque lines with little character development. As far as I'm concerned, David Norris is a childish flake and Elise Sellas doesn't give two craps about anybody's feelings but her own. Not very likable, but I guess they do deserve each other. Second, a thriller won't be thrilling if there is no danger. The biggest dangers are Norris not being a great politician and Sellas not becoming famous in modern dance circles. No threat of bodily harm and the bad guys are completely befuddled when water is in the picture. I've ranted in the past about this Hollywood notion that unless you get the girl AND the money, fame, and good looks, it's not worth it. For most of us, finding true love would be enough – we wouldn't have to be President on top of all that. Last, all throughout the movie the plucky "buddy comedy" music doesn't give the a sense of impending doom. If Richard Widmark's brutal wheelchair down the stairs scene from Kiss of Death had been accompanied by bongos and a symbol hit at the end, I don't think it would carry the same weight.

Maybe we've seen too many Matrix-type movies to be impressed by mind- bending sci-fi chases, but this dime tour of NYC did not impress or entertain.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Call me a sap, but it worked for me

Author: rzajac from Taichung, Taiwan
7 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

There's a strain in the comments to the effect that the purity of Dick's message got sold out by the treatment. So I watched it with some wariness.

But in the end, it worked for me. Yeah, the cinematic realization of the concept of spiritual intervention was kinda sorta klunky... Although I would be utterly tragically hip if I failed to tip my hat to the flash of campy sight-gagging on that theme! And, in the end, it was worth the investment of suspension of disbelief.

Not the greatest venue for Damon's cache and skills, but not too chabby, either. At the end of the movie, I was quite touched and taken by the moral of the story. The proof lies in the following pudding: Given that there is no Adjustment Bureau, does the moral still ring true?

*** Spoiler Alert ***

. . .

"Waking Life" said that "dream is destiny". But is Dick (and this movie) more aware of the underlying truth? Is the key to destiny really love?

***spoilers off***: I gave this an 8 merely because I feel that psychothriller sci-fi rarely overcomes its idiomatic commitments to reality-basis to truly transcend and become timeless art. Though The Adjustment Bureau gave me a run for my money, my expectations weren't entirely exploded. If they had been, it would've gotten a 9 or 10.

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22 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

Great Title - Poor Plot

Author: Carson Serrani from United States
17 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I honestly had extremely high expectations for this movie from what the movie trailer was portraying. However after I watched the movie I was sorely disappointed. In my opinion it should have been about how "The Bureau" was controlling everyones moves and actions uncovering their every single move into their lives. Unfortunately the movie zeroed in on a "love story" and "fate"; which in my opinion made this Sci-Fi Action movie turn into a Sci-Fi Drama Chick Flick!

Like I previously stated: the trailer lead me to believe that the plot was going to be a Sci-Fi conspiracy movie about how the government or "The Bureau" controls the world (USA) and someone found out about them and tried to stop them to tell the world, but end up being killed for treason! Something along those lines, in my opinion. Anyways, overall I give this movie a 4 out of 10 because the plot could have been so much better for a Sci-Fi Thriller! Instead of turning it into a love story, which by the way there are way too many of those around already so why did they do this to the movie? I have no idea. But it was a bad idea.

Final Note: (SPOILER) Folks, if you love movies like 'Vantage Point' or 'The Bourne Supremacy' - stay away from this movie because you will too be sorely disappointed as was I. This was nothing close to what I was expecting from what the movie trailer of "The Adjustment Bureau" portrayed at all! Good luck folks, I hope you too have a different opinion than mine. Because I am just one person, who has seen hundreds of thousands of amazing, great, stupendous and kick-ass movies! So I know what I'm talking about when I wrote this review. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Best regards,

Carson Serrani Dezign Labs Web Team +1 (888) 505-2819

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29 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

And now something completely different... (of Philip K. Dick)

Author: saul-cepeda ( from Spain
8 March 2011

We have here smart and smooth dialog, ontological arguments, great acting, sci-fi, clever editing, space-time dimensions and an inspiring love story. After watching the trailer, when I hear Philip K. Dick + George Nolfi (Bourne's Ultimatum, Ocean's 12, ¡Timeline!...), something disturbing came to my mind: a kind of Dark City-Paycheck hybrid... Nothing further from the truth.

The adaptation of PKD's short stories for the screen has no newness, but do it in a completely new shape within a romantic-comedy-like film (preserving all the Chaos Theory/Free Will/Determinism leitmotiv of the text) is a show worth seeing.

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43 out of 80 people found the following review useful:

Cheesier than the tummy of a mouse.

Author: manbok from United Kingdom
11 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To explain the plot of this movie, you take a genetic manipulated monkey with the IQ of Sara Palin, give it a few good high percentage bananas, bump his head approximately 24.6 times at the radiator, and let it write about something original, something that hasn't been there two individuals that fall in love with each other, while the whole world is against their love.

Oh, right, that is actually not original much. I excuse myself, the originality is, that there is no reason why the whole world is against them, because our great monkey is already sucking its thumb in foetus position. And you will be surprised with the ending, because you will find yourself looking at your friend next to you with straws in his nostrils, just to see something more unexpected and entertaining, yes and because you know your friend as well as a million love clichés...the expected ending of this sentence just underlines, what I'm trying to bring across.

Along the way, somewhere stuck in limbo, you just hope for something interesting to happen...that feeling stays, till you see the credits and try to think, how you could make up this time loss of your precious life. That and making sure you don't wear a hat on your way to the exit doors.

Now, don't get me wrong, sometimes even I like love clichés, if the movie had some kind of character depth, for example.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A thriller with no 'baddies'

Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
29 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The blurb on the DVD cover describes this as 'Bourne meets Inception', so as I enjoyed those films I was keen to see this. While there are similarities I must say I thought this was much lighter fare; that's not to say I didn't enjoy it though. At first it looked as this would be a political thriller; with candidate for the US Senate David Norris faces a surprise defeat. As he tries to compose his thoughts in the gents he is interrupted by a mysterious woman, before he gets chance to learn who she is he has to go. He doesn't expect to see her again but some time later he bumps into her on a New York bus, this time he gets her name (Elise) and number. He doesn't get chance to call her though as things suddenly get very strange for him; he gets to work and finds everybody frozen and strange men capture him and explain that it is their job to make sure that everything that is meant to happen does happen… and he was not meant to meet Elise! They take her number but he is determined to find her and one day three years later he does, their problems are only just beginning however as The Adjustment Bureau haven't given up their plans to keep them apart.

I really enjoyed this; Matt Damon but in a fine performance as David Norris and Emily Blunt was suitably beguiling as Elise. Other notable performances include Anthony Mackie as the Bureau man responsible for Norris and Terrance Stamp for played one of his superiors. There was enough excitement without having the action swamp the plot and character development. It also made a nice change for there to be no real bad guys in a film like this… The Bureau may have been against the protagonist's plans but their motivation was never sinister. I also liked that no attempt was made to explain how things worked; we were told the Bureau men's hats enabled then to use doors to travel across the city but no time was wasted giving reasons; it just had to be accepted. Over all it was a lot of fun; I'd certainly recommend it.

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224 out of 443 people found the following review useful:

Interesting premise sacrificed to silly clichéd love story

Author: benzing from Troy, NY
18 February 2011

I saw this at a preview screening. The premise of mysterious strangers controlling our destiny comes from the eccentric imagination of Phillip K. Dick; everything else in the movie is cookie cutter Hollywood fluff. None of the characters are remotely believable either in their everyday lives or in the nonchalant reactions to learning mind bending secrets about themselves and human destiny. What could have been an entertaining and creepy paranoid fantasy instead becomes a by the numbers sermon on the power of "true love" (which seems to refer to the infatuation you experience after spending a few hours engaging in cute banter and rolling in the hay with a virtual stranger). Has a number of unintentional laughs, not the least of which involves a character recounting a skewed history of the human race that ignores everything outside of Western Europe and America. Beyond all the silliness and the immaturity of the script, however, what really surprised me was how lazy it all felt. The performances were lackluster, the tense scenes were boring, the love story was passionless, the fantasy elements pedestrian. Towards the end I thought we might be at least being heading toward something really outrageous, but even that turned out to be a false hope.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Yes the romance is nice but the idea is lost and presented with such blandness that it is hard to care

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
6 November 2011

This film offers an interesting idea regarding an unworldly force that nudges and directs the path all of our lives take, it could have done a lot with it but what it decides to do is make a romantic film within this plot. Now there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself but someone should really have a word with the marketing department who decided that a concept-thriller would be easier to sell, since that is very much the film they set their campaign around – not this one. Anyway, cheap marketing aside, I came to this film on DVD with the trailers a long distance memory and average word of mouth having lowered my expectations somewhat.

The film starts with some spark and drive to it as we are introduced to the characters and have the curtains pulled back to reveal what is really going on and the power that "they" have. At this point I was interested but as the film progressed this was slowly worn out of me. Some will say this is because I am not a romantic; while that may well be true I did actually like the romance between David and Elise, it was well played and the two had that sort of spark that was required to make me believe in them after so little time, so my problem with the film isn't that the central motivator for the events is this potential love between them. No, my problem with the film is with what it does with the idea itself – which is practically nothing.

The film has very little pace and generally it drags itself along with the audience always looking over their shoulder to see where the film is – we're already 2 steps ahead and it would be lovely if the film at very least kept up with us. It doesn't though, it plays its spiritual card very early on and it never presents a real danger or threat to be overcome – the men in hats never come off as controlling or a threat or even anything close, at worst they come off as stuffy old kill-joys and in this way they make a poor "opposition" for our protagonist. I'm not suggesting I needed this to be an action movie, but the lack of any sort of sense of threat or urgency really hurts the film because this "idea" is the majority of the film, not the romance – so to mess up the basis for your film is not going to go well.

It is a credit to the on screen presence and charm of both Damon and Blunt that the romance side of the film works well, they both held my attention and kept me interested even when the rest of the film was so very light and surprisingly bland. Mackie, Slattery and Stamp deserved better – all three of them seemed to be phoning it in without anything really going on in their performances, only the odd flutter of urgency gave them good moments but otherwise they are let down. And they are let down by writer/director Nolfi; this guy has been the writer on a couple of big money-makers but he has done himself no favours with this effort – he loses the idea and gets tied up with the romance, forgetting that the idea is the story, not the romance. He lets his cast down and he lets the audience down – it still all looks expensive and professionally done, but this is for little comfort when the story-telling is so fluffed.

The Adjustment Bureau may well be built on a good idea (I will find and read Adjustment Team) but it does very little with it. The romance at the core is engaging but the idea is lost and is handled badly. There is little of interest, threat or pace about it; it isn't a terrible film by any means, it is just so average and lacking in edge that I really found it hard to care – and the fact that I was often ahead of it in regards narrative really didn't help either.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

I am eagerly looking forward to this first-time director's entire career

Author: TheUnknown837-1 from United States
17 November 2011

"The Adjustment Bureau" is a first-time piece of directing work by a certain George Nolfi, who before had worked in Hollywood pretty much exclusively as a screenwriter. He also composed the script for this picture and that is half of what impressed me so much. Just looking at the way he choreographed his images, and worked so well with his two stars, despite the occasional lapse here and there expected of somebody making their first feature-length motion picture, I must say I am eagerly looking forward to his entire career. For "The Adjustment Bureau," while not any kind of a masterpiece, is one of the most unexpectedly pleasing and wholeheartedly enjoyable movies of the year.

Mr. Nolfi's involvement in the third Jason Bourne movie may have had some input in his getting Matt Damon to take the lead as an ambitious but somewhat dubious New York governor candidate. Through some odd and very charming circumstances, Mr. Damon runs into a bold, pretty young ballet dancer played by the always intoxicating Emily Blunt. Affectionate toward each other at first sight, they slowly fall in love and try to reach each other several times over a period lasting years. But the only thing tearing them apart and stopping them is not a jealous ex, not a terrorist plot, but instead a group of mysterious men in 30s-style jackets and fedoras calling themselves the Adjustment Bureau.

The screenplay was based on a Philip K. Dick story called "The Adjustment Team" and although the story is completely warped, the purpose of the titular men remains essentially the same. Their purpose, as a character played by very-good actor John Slattery explains, is to control how time plays out. Time and fate is prewritten in what is called 'The Plan' and they work in groups to make sure that things play out according to 'The Plan,' using whatever methods possible to make sure that the rest of the world falls in accordance to it. And as it turns out, the romance between Mr. Damon and Miss Blunt is something that is prohibited in their strategy and the film evolves into a very passionate and exciting story about two people deciding what is more important: to be with who you love, or to do what is better for the world entire.

With a plot this extravagant, it is surprising that director Mr. Nolfi did not blunder into an entirely corny yarn. Occasionally, he does falter (some of the scientific lingo gets a little too pseudointellectual for my taste) but as a total, he succeeds in weaving a strong and passionate tale. But that may also return to the surmise that "The Adjustment Bureau" is not really a science-fiction tale. Rather, it is a deep romantic thriller that benefits from two sharply-written characters and two very charismatic performances. The movie rides on the romance between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt and you could not ask for better performances. This coming from someone who typically gripes at the 'Love At First Sight' gimmick but became an instant sucker for it here within ten minutes. Mr. Damon, who usually casts himself as tough guys with pasts, takes a chance at playing a softer, more emotional type who does not hurl a fist until the third act and does not instantly become a stuntman. And Miss Blunt does a fabulous job playing a courageous and strong-hearted woman. It's their chemistry and their moments together that really benefit the picture. For right away, I believed in the love brewing between them and it mattered to me whether or not they actually got together at the end. Just looking at these two people together is absolutely charming and even the obligatory love moment between them in bed is performed and shot in such a way that it does not become unnecessarily erotic and doesn't stop the story. Rather, it seems to work, like a piece of a puzzle.

That is the definition of a good love story. If you were to take it out and transplant it in some totally different movie, it would still work.

The love story is more interesting than the Adjustment Bureau men themselves and that may be one of the weaknesses of the picture. Despite some great performances from John Slattery, Anthony Mackie, and Terence Stamp, and the fact that we see inside of their operations quite a bit, we don't really come to know much about them. In addition, because this is a first-time directing job, some of the shots are imperfect. A moment where Mr. Damon tries to escape from the Bureau men and trips on a rising floor tile is awkward. The shot seems sped-up too fast and his leg hangs in the air for too long.

My only real complaint about "The Adjustment Bureau" would have to be the much-griped-about ending, which has some religious subtexts that may anger some. Not offended myself, I just felt it, despite that wonderful shot of the two leads - and one of the few times where I liked the shot of the camera whirling 360 degrees around them - was a bit of a cop-out and not entirely satisfying.

But my few notifications aside, I must happily repeat that this is one marvelously entertaining and emotionally-gripping little movie. And despite the fact that there have been some better-made pictures this year, few of them are liable to last as long in the memory as it. Sometimes it's better when a picture does not aim for masterpiece-status and it's better for the audience going in with an open mind and not assaulted by a big hype campaign. For then a movie like this becomes even more surprising and delightful. Congratulations all around, especially to Mr. Damon and Miss Blunt for their fabulous performances, and to writer-director George Nolfi, who has made a more-than-impressive first step into the most-cherished profession of directing motion pictures.

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