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The Adjustment Bureau

Part of the Plan

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

It’s not that The Adjustment Bureau is a let down, it’s just that it leaves you with more questions than answers. For some films that’s what makes them classics, but for some it just leaves a void. This isn’t a cerebral, thinking piece, it’s just a basic romance set in a world where the impossible exists. It wants a nice bow tied around it, but the threads are frayed.

George Nolfi’s directorial debut (he has writing credits on Bourne Ultimatum and Ocean’s Twelve) follows David Norris’ (Matt Damon) life as it intersects with Elise Sellas’ (Emily Blunt). What should have been love at first sight is, apparently, against the rules or, rather, “the plan.” This “plan” is that which is according to “The Chairman,” who we humans also refer to by many names.

After David walks in on his co-workers being “course corrected” by the ushers of the plan, or underlings of “The Chairman” he’s subdued by Richardson (John Slattery) and taken to a warehouse.

There, Richardson explains that they are all working for “The Chairman” and help course correct his “plan.” Not only should David never have walked in on what he did, but Elise, the girl he recently met, is not part of David’s plan either. They tell him to forget about her and never speak of this. Of course, David can’t just walk away from her. That’s OK, they’ll just make it so their paths never cross again. But David is determined to find her. Just as determined are Richardson and his cronies that he doesn’t, so as not to further deviate from the plan.

Basically, it’s a “Love Conquers All” film. It’s a story that wants to explore whether or not love can truly overcome all obstacles and if it is, in fact, truly meaningful. It’s a trite sentiment, but one that most art really does explore. Yet in this film, it just feels like it has nothing new to say. These “watchers,” while filling in holes about who they are and what they do, just raise more questions than they satisfy. The film doesn’t want us to be asking who they are and what they want, it wants us to ask if David and Elise belong together.

It’s a romance disguised as a sci-fi film and never truly combines the two. It’s a sweet enough film for an enjoyable night out, but it’s not really the thrill ride many may be expecting.