Just when my annual movie withdrawal that hits at the beginning of each new year was starting to take deep root, I found myself truly excited by the trailers for The Adjustment Bureau, a movie that looked both compelling and exciting. It had real potential: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie and Terence Stamp in what looked to be an intelligent action flick about free will. Sounds good, right?
Well, if you ever wonder why certain movies are released in January, February or March, there’s a reason. Trust me.
I have only myself to blame, however. Before I went to see it, I noticed that The Adjustment Bureau was written and directed by George Nolfi. Who is George Nolfi, you ask? Well, he is the guy who is partially responsible for ruining not one but two of the most lucrative modern movie franchises. Not only did he co-write the worst of the Bourne movies (The Bourne Ultimatum), but he is also the guy responsible for penning the miserable sequel to Ocean’s Eleven. Yes, Nolfi wrote Ocean’s Twelve, one of the lamest, pathetic and tragic wastes of talent I’ve seen since Mixed Nuts.
And now he has done it again.
The Adjustment Bureau is a silly and misguided movie about some guys who work for an unseen boss who controls our actions and decides our destinies (subtle, huh?). And Matt Damon plays a guy who is determined to resist them and create his own fate. Yes, you read that right. Not only is The Adjustment Bureau some lame rip-off of ideas we’ve seen in movies like City of Angels and The Matrix, but it doesn’t even come close to having a tenth of their imagination, heart or intelligence. And when I call City of Angels intelligent, you know I’m reaching.
True to Nolfi’s history, the script he wrote for this movie is so unbelievably corny that you really wonder how the actors didn’t laugh out loud as they were saying lines like “you can’t out-run your fate” and “you can’t trust anyone with a hat….a bowler hat, a Yankee hat, even a yarmulke.” Egads.
Now I’m a Matt Damon fan. He’s done some amazing work, especially in such films as The Departed, True Grit, The Talented Mr. Ripley and Courage Under Fire. But if you ever want to see an actor phone in a performance, here’s your chance. His line readings are as flat as his character. But even Matt Damon at his best wouldn’t have been able to overcome this simplistic and weak excuse for a script.
Maybe I was spoiled by the standards of intelligent movie-making that Inception set, but I refuse to be dumbed-down by a hackneyed, pseudo-philosophical movie that is a tragic waste of talent and time. Don’t be fooled by the glitzy trailers for The Adjustment Bureau—assert your free will and see Rango instead.