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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU (2011)

In his megging debut, scripter George Nolfi really scrapes the bottom of the Philip K Dick meta-physical barrel. It’s one of those lame Free-Will fables with a TWILIGHT ZONE twist ending that lets everyone off the hook. Of course, these things can work if you ‘buy’ into the concept, but Nolfi hasn’t the action chops, cast or (sorry Dick fans) story to con his way in & out of the many meta-absurdities. Matt Damon’s a Kennedyesque politico who loses a race for the Senate but gains the love of his life (Emily Blunt) while practicing his concession speech in the Men’s Room. The sequence is so awkwardly written, and the leads have such striking antipathy, you think she must be part of the film’s other-worldly conspiracy. But no, that team is Guys-Only; a cadre of sharp-suited soul handlers who manage our future trajectories without our knowing it. Can Damon outfox his team of life planners? Will tru-love wreck both their futures? Does the grand Pooh-Bah in the sky really believe that Americans would elect a bachelor President? And why can’t a buff young man out-sprint a slow-moving bus in Midtown NYC traffic?

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: In the opening reel, Nolfi uses cameo appearances of real journalists, news anchors, politicians & celebs to add verisimilitude to this tall tale. But the famous faces actually work in reverse, pushing us out of the story just when we need to be pulled in.

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