Philip K. Dick's original science-fiction story gets an adjustment in "The Adjustment Bureau," a fantasy, rather than a sci-fi piece, about freedom of choice and to what lengths we will go to pursue love.

The story is a far cry from the one published nearly 60 years ago, but it maintains the same plot thread. The action - and plenty of it there is - turns on David Norris (Matt Damon), who has to face the losing music when he runs for a New York Senate seat. In a men's room, he contemplates giving a speech acknowledging his defeat when he meets an intriguing woman right there in a most unexpected spot.

Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) recognizes him as a politician and inspires his best speech yet. But they have time to exchange only a few words and a brief kiss, whereupon he is whisked to the podium for his concession address. She vanishes, but he can't stop thinking about her.

David then sees Elise again on a bus, where the two flirt and she gives him her phone number. And that's when David meets members of The Adjustment Bureau. It seems that humans aren't capable of managing their own lives without interference from a certain authority that has their lives literally mapped out. The bureau steps in to guide things - especially when things aren't going as planned.

The bureau can "re-set" David (think the way the "Men in Black" help those who meet them to forget they exist) or he can stay mum and go about his business, which includes never seeing Elise again. David promises he will keep his mouth shut, but he actually plans to do everything he can to find the woman who has captured his heart and mind.

Director George Nolfi (who wrote "The Bourne Ultimatum") knows Damon's strengths and uses that "everyguy" charisma to good effect here. Damon and Blunt have nice chemistry, and we're rooting for them all the way as they run through hidden doors, hail taxis and sprint up staircases in their quest to be together.

It's a thought-provoking adventure, too: Do you believe in free will or do you believe there is a force that not-so-gently guides us toward our destinies? The show certainly will give you something to ponder long after you've finished your popcorn.

 

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