This question has been debated since the first humans appeared.
Do we have free will or is there a universal blueprint at work?
If there is a universal blueprint, are we all where we are supposed to be and doing what we are supposed to be doing at all times?
If that philosophical headache isn’t enough, the next question in the thread will induce one. It says, if there is a plan, and considering there are billions of moving human parts, can the act of a single human being alter reality and change the plan?
And then, what happens if that plan gets changed?
This is just one of a number of puzzles pondered by sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick. Updates of his prose — much of it written in the 1950s and 60s — have inspired a bunch great science fiction flicks.
Blade Runner, Minority Report and Total Recall are among them.
The Adjustment Bureau is based on Dick’s 1954 short story The Adjustment Team. George Nolfi — who penned The Bourne Ultimatum — does his first turn behind the camera as director, and has taken Dick’s premise, updated it and stuck his own love story into the plot.
Nolfi teams box-office bankable Matt Damon with the very charismatic Emily Blunt (Sunshine Cleaning). He’s, David Norris, a failed politician who on his election day defeat meets Blunt’s Elise. It is love at first sight but for an inexplicable reason they go their separate ways.
A couple of years later they reconnect on a bus.
That connection isn’t supposed to happen. In fact, he is supposed to miss the bus and be late for work because the “adjustment bureau” is making a correction in the universal plan that day.
David isn’t supposed to see the correction. None of us are.
Once he knows what’s really going on, the bureau team warns David that he will be “reset” if he tells anyone and that he cannot, under any circumstances be with Elise. Reset — by the way — means a total memory wipe.
Not wanting a cosmic lobotomy, David tries to stay away but try as he might, he cannot get her out of his mind and cannot help but try to be with her. And the adjustment team is supposed to keep them apart. It isn’t — for some inexplicable reason — able to get the job done.
That is not part of the “plan” and eventually sets him, Elise and the bureau on a fascinating collision course.
Twisting fate and life as an unalterable plan is tail-chasing territory. Nolfi avoids potential plot convolutions with a fast moving, matter-of-fact script. Serious subjects get liberal doses of humor. The chemistry between Damon and Blunt is palpable and the love story is the sizzle that sells the steak.
Adjust your plan and include this one in your movie plans in the near future.
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It opens Friday, March 4 at Regal’s Columbia Center 8 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.