Booty over duty: In 'Adjustment Bureau,' love conquers all, 'Inception'-wise

Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are two people who fall in love, but are informed that if they stay together, it will change the future.
Matt Damon and Emily Blunt are two people who fall in love, but are informed that if they stay together, it will change the future.
Posted: March 04, 2011

In the goofball "The Adjustment Bureau," Matt Damon repeatedly ignores instructions from God not to date Emily Blunt.

This is enormously flattering to Ms. Blunt. Perhaps the nicest compliment a man has paid to a woman in movies since Nic Cage decided, in "Next," that he'd rather "date" Jessica Biel than save Los Angeles from destruction via nuclear bomb.

But it's not so flattering to God (or The Chairman, as he's known here), who has a hard time getting movies to take Him seriously.

In that regard, "The Adjustment Bureau" reminded me of "What Dreams May Come," in which a dead Robin Williams goes to heaven, decides he doesn't like it, and starts to complain, like a pampered celebrity in a three-star hotel.

"Dreams," like "Bureau," is a story that could come only from Hollywood, where apparently everybody lives by the Charlie Sheen creed: "I'm tired of pretending I'm not special."

In "Bureau" the special celeb is Damon, playing David Norris, a senatorial candidate with a promising future who meets a dancer named Elise (Blunt) with an equally promising future in the arts.

The catch - it turns out that their futures are promising only if they are uncoupled, according to the forces (the so-called Adjustment Bureau) that understand and manage destiny.

Bureau men (Anthony Mackie, John Slattery) explain this to David after he accidentally slips through a worm-hole and sees them at work - freezing time, fixing things, making sure that everything follows the Chairman's script of predestination.

They give David the bottom line: If he defies destiny and commences a relationship with Elise, their individual careers fall to ruin, and so, by the way, does the country.

David's response? Screw you, America, I'm in love. Booty over duty.

Against orders, he scours the city for Elise, using the Bureau's time/space portals, visual gimmicks that inartfully mimic some of the "Inception" cityscapes.

In fact, "The Adjustment Bureau" is like something Christopher Nolan might have made if somebody pumped him full of Prozac and forced him to direct a sappy romance (it's very loosely based on a story by Philip K. Dick).

"The Adjustment Bureau" is pitched to adults, but has a "Twilight" style notion of true love - David chats with a girl for 45 seconds, decides she's the love of his life and that the universe must conform to his infatuation.

Yes, in David's eyes, the problems of the world don't amount to a hill of beans next to the needs of two little people.

Who are tired of pretending they're not special.

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