The Adjustment Bureau (12A)

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The Independent Culture

Do we have free will or is our fate controlled by the machinations of supernatural G-men in raincoats and pork-pie hats? That's the question for Matt Damon's up-and-coming senatorial candidate in a sappy romantic drama garnished with metaphysical trimmings. It's based on a short story by the sci-fi paranoia-meister Philip K Dick, but entirely misses his signature otherworldly menace. Damon is being kept apart from his soul mate – a dancer played by Emily Blunt – because of something called "The Plan", which involves those behatted bureaucrats chasing him around the streets of New York and consulting a sort of iPad on which his ultimate destiny is inscribed. The fantasy might have been tolerable were it generating romantic heat, but stiff-armed Damon and Garfield-eyed Blunt don't animate the written-in-the-stars love match it's supposed to be; it's a put-on, and both seem to know it. Meanwhile, good actors like John Slattery and Anthony Mackie are wasted huffing and puffing around a story that keeps contradicting its own invented logic. As artistic endeavour this gives free will a bad name.