AWFJ Women On Film – The Adjustment Bureau – Susan Granger reviews

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Existentialist questions about predestination and free will permeate this plodding sci-fi thriller, George Nolfi’s adaptation of a Philip K. Dick fantasy which asserts that smartly tailored, dark-suited guardian angels wearing hats walk among us to keep us on track.

Idealistic David Norris (Matt Damon) is a popular Brooklyn congressman who loses his initial bid to become a U.S. Senator. He’s unfortunately prone to bar fights and mooning for pals at a college reunion. Just before he concedes, he meets Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), an outspoken dancer who inspires him to deliver a pivotal speech that revives his political career. But she quickly disappears. Apparently they’re not meant to be together – at least according to a squadron of menacing adjusters and case officers, led by John Slattery, Anthony Mackie and Terence Stamp, who can manipulate not only traffic but the space/time continuum, creating a labyrinthine system of enchanted ‘doors’ quickly transporting them from one end of Manhattan to another. In fact, David is told that if he will abandon his quest to find Elise, his future not only includes a successful Senatorial bid but also the U.S. Presidency. Problem is: despite the meddlesome angels’ continuing roadblocks, David and Elise feel this irresistible, if inexplicable, attraction. So the problem is referred to the Chairman, a euphemism for God.

With screenwriting credits like “Ocean’s Twelve” and “The Bourne Ultimatum” on his resume, George Nolfi added a romantic element not found in the original 1954 Philip K. Dick short story and decided to try directing, backed by the commitment of Matt Damon. Unfortunately, like many good sci-fi writers, Nolfi presents a provocative premise but never develops credible characters and constantly reiterates clichéd dialogue like, “You’ve deviated from The Plan.” Plus, there are many ludicrous, ill-logical plot loopholes. Yet Damon and Blunt are quite likeable, and there are cameos by NYC Mayor

Michael Bloomberg, Jon Stewart and Jesse Jackson.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Adjustment Bureau” is a spiritual 6

about celestial messengers intervening on mortals’ search for soul mates.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.