New on Blu-ray: The Adjustment Bureau

By Robert B. DeSalvo

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Matt Damon and Emily Blunt star in this romantic sci-fi thriller full of cock blockers, teleportation and mad dashes around New York.


Director: George Nolfi Rating: PG-13 Studio: Universal

The Adjustment Bureau, which is loosely based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, had a misleading marketing campaign that made it look like a hardcore action picture. There is excitement to be had, for sure, in this film adaptation starring Matt Damon, but don’t check out this romantic sci-fi thriller with the idea that Damon is Bourne again.

Damon plays David Norris, a candidate running for Senate who has a random encounter in the men’s bathroom with Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), a sassy professional dancer hiding out in the stall who encourages him to be more honest. The two flirt and the instant attraction between the two leads is palpable. David rushes off to finish his speech and goes off script with her advice about honesty—a move that proves popular in the polls.

He later runs into Elise again on a bus, and this time asks her for her number. It seems like fate is bringing the two together, but David soon finds out that fate is working overtime to keep them apart when he is chased down by the Adjustment Bureau—a supernatural bunch of aggressive life coaches who pull the strings of humanity under orders of “The Chairman.” The Bureau agents all wear magical hats that allow them to go through certain doors in Manhattan and instantly teleport to other areas of the city, making it nearly impossible for David to elude them. The Bureau tells David that getting together with Elise is not part of the grand plan, and that doing so will ruin his shot at the presidency as well as her career as a dancer. In addition, they threaten to “reset” (a nice word for “lobotomize”) him if he continues to pursue her or reveals their existence.

Do you think David listens? Despite the teleportation and otherworldly agents of fate, this story is a classic romance at heart. David keeps going back to Elise much to the infuriation of the Adjustment Bureau, which includes the Chairman-approved Thompson (Terence Stamp). Damon obtains a magic hat, teleports into the courthouse where Elise is about to get married and decides to reveal everything to her. The two embark on a mad dash around New York through the doors—the best part of the film—until they are cornered by the Bureau on a skyscraper rooftop and find out, once and for all, if love can conquer all—even fate.

A romantic thriller like this one lives or dies with the chemistry between its two leads, and Damon and Blunt have enough to make their own periodic table. Even though the movie is not as action-packed as its marketers would lead you to believe, you’ll find yourself rooting for Damon to elude the interdimensional cock blockers and find a safe doorway so he and Blunt can adjust themselves properly.

Best extras: Both the DVD and Blu-ray contain commentary by Nolfi, deleted and extended scenes, “Leaping Through New York,” “Destined to Be” and “Becoming Elise.” The BD also has the immersive “The Labyrinth of Doors,” an interactive map of New York that transports you around the city via the routes taken by Damon as he utilizes the magical doorways.


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