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March 04, 2011

Movie Review: The Adjustment Bureau

One star. I think it's probably one and a half stars, but I'm deducting a half-star for the completely deceptive marketing campaign, which sells this as the sort of movie I wanted to see when in fact it's a completely different one. A really gaytarded one.

This the quickest way I can review this piece of shit. I'm going to give you two movie pitches. You decide which you think you'd probably like to see.

Pitch One: Jake Dale is a hotshot technologist who's just perfected a new form of laser propulsion that will lift man to the stars. But after he crosses paths with a mysterious woman, he finds events of his past life keep changing -- and finds that a sinister cabal of fedora-wearing corporate "fixers" from the future are intruding into his world to change events so that priceless patents become the property of the all-powerful future megacorporation. And now that they've stolen his tech, it's time to erase him from the timeline! See... The Corporate Agenda!

Pitch Two: Jake Dale is the youngest man ever elected to Congress in America, whom the newspapers call "New York's Bad-Boy Congressman." He meets a pretty dancer and they kiss. Suddenly a band of goofy, fedora-wearing bureaucrats from heaven, angels with a madcap agenda, try to stop him from hooking up with his would-be girlfriend because God, who they call "the Chairman," thinks he'll wind up too happy if he marries her and then won't fulfill his divine fate of becoming President of the United States. See... Conspiracy of Love!

Okay, which would you see?

I'm assuming that 90% of you would say the first one. (Goofy title aside.) It seems the studio releasing The Adjustment Bureau also thinks that 90% of people would want to see that first one, because all of the ads portray it as being just that.

In fact, it's the second one-- that second pitch actually describes the actual plot of The Adjustment Bureau. You may think I've made stuff up and made it sound sillier than it is, but in fact, I just gave you the actual plot. That was all real, yo! The movie is a romantic comedy with a genial fantasy twist about bureaucratic angels who work for "The Chairman" and set people's lives according to plan through little telekinetic nudges, like making someone miss a crucial meeting by making him spill coffee on himself.

Oh, and a newspaper does call Matt Damon "New York's Bad-Boy Congressman."

I'm not lying. Seriously.

Anyway, I have a question: Since the studio knows that that first pitch is likely to make more money, and please more people, why didn't they just make that movie? Why did they make the second movie and then try to sell it as the first?

If they knew that first pitch was a winner, why did they make, as one reviewer calls it waggishly, "a Philip K. Dick romantic comedy"?

And yes, Philip K. Dick did write the story this was based on. Do not be deceived. This is not a thriller. It's a fantasy romance, and not a good one.

Huh. The guy who always writes about mind-control and androids can't write genial romantic comedy? Who knew?

I use the word "comedy" advisedly. Although it is a comedy of sorts, it's clumsy, awkward one, because when a movie's bad, you really don't know where the jokes are intended and where they just sort of happen due to incompetence.

For a movie about fate as written by God himself, no one here seemed to have any good plan of what the hell to do with this basic material.

Now that I've saved you $10 for a theater ticket, let me also save you $5 for a Blockbuster rental, too: Don't rent it, either. See it free if at all.

Because, conservatives should know, Matt Damon spends the first ten minutes of the movie running for Senate on Obama's basic platform (telling his enthusiastic fans "the future belongs to the young" or some horseshit like that) and meeting all the usual liberal assholes who show up in movies about politics, like James Carville and Terry MacCauliffe. Actually, the usual liberal assholes are sort of absent -- finally, a movie about politics in which Chris Matthes does not appear.

No one watches his show in real life; why does everyone watch it in the movies? Anyway, he's not here. But I'm not giving the movie an extra half star just for that.

Plus, Matt Damon is kinda fat and looks like a stocky butt-plug in his various running-from-angelic-bureaucrat scenes. I kept wondering: Why Matt Damon and not Sean Astin? If you want a squat, stocky homely kind of guy who doesn't really make an impact on the screen, why not Samwise? Why this twit?

The movie does have a cute conceit, about angels being able to open a regular deli door on 3rd Avenue and have it open into Yankee Stadium or Liberty Island or the top of the Empire State Building, and that's entertaining for three minutes, but the rest of it is, well.

This is the time of year they release troubled-production, not-sure-how-to-market, and just plain stinker movies. I got burned. Don't follow me in my fate.

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posted by Ace at 10:47 PM

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