Damon, Blunt Shine In 'Adjustment Bureau'

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In The Adjustment Bureau, Matt Damon stars as a loose-cannon politician who is watched by mysterious, nattily dressed men after he strays from his chosen destiny to find Emily Blunt, the woman he loves.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The science fiction writer Philip K. Dick has been dead for nearly three decades, but he's still a major force in cinema. Nearly a dozen films based on his work have generated more than $1 billion in revenue. The latest, "The Adjustment Bureau," opened over the weekend and was number two at the box office.

Kenneth Turan has this review.

KENNETH TURAN: Philip K. Dick, a writer who lived and breathed paranoia, came up with the idea of unseen cosmic forces stage-managing our lives.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Adjustment Bureau")

Mr. JOHN SLATTERY (Actor): (as Richardson) We are the people who make sure things happen according to plan. My name's Richardson.

TURAN: These forces are teams of super-serious guys in top coats and fedoras, who look like refugees from "Mad Men" and are armed with knowledge of what's supposed to happen in the future.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Adjustment Bureau")

Mr. SLATTERY: (as Richardson) You really think I couldn't see that coming? I can read your mind. Yeah, really. Pick a color - blue. Pick a number - 17. Now, why are you still thinking about running?

TURAN: Their task is to make adjustments around the edges that nudge people back into the life plan that's been created just for them. Matt Damon plays a rising New York politician named David while Emily Blunt is Elise, a modern dancer. Whenever they chance to bump into each other, sparks fly.

(Soundbite of movie, "The Adjustment Bureau")

Mr. MATT DAMON (Actor): (As David) What is it with you and the argyle?

Ms. EMILY BLUNT (Actor): (As Elise) What is the deal with you and the boring shades of blue?

Mr. DAMON: (As David) My clothes match.

TURAN: This kind of undeniable attraction is the best thing about "The Adjustment Bureau." Damon and Blunt turn out to be a charismatic duo whose palpable opposites-attract energy counts for a lot.

Unfortunately, those cosmic adjusters, led by a humorless Terence Stamp, just don't see it that way. For reasons that aren't immediately spelled out, David and Elise are supposed to get out of each other's lives.

"The Adjustment Bureau's" central concept is ingenious, but the details are a little wonky and don't always stand up to scrutiny. What is unmistakable is the strength of Elise and David's attraction. This is Matt Damon's most classically romantic role ever. He and the always-excellent Emily Blunt are what make this movie a night to remember.

MONTAGNE: The movie is "The Adjustment Bureau." Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times.

(Soundbite of music)

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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