March 4, 2011, - 3:23 pm

Wknd Box Office: Adjustment Bureau, Take Me Home Tonight, Beastly

By Debbie Schlussel

**** UPDATE: Scroll Down for Review of Beastly ****

I did not see “Rango” or “Vanishing on 7th Street,” because they were either on the Jewish Sabbath (Rango) or weren’t screened (Vanishing).  However, I will try to see them over the weekend and provide updates.  Here’s what I saw:

*  “The Adjustment Bureau“:  Matt Damon plays a rising political star, a Congressman from New York, who is running for U.S. Senate.  And, of course, all promising, rising political stars hang out with Jesse Jackson and Madeleine Albright (or, at least, they do in Hollywood’s version of things).  Other than that, the movie is not political and doesn’t have an agenda.

This movie was mildly entertaining and wasn’t bad.  It just wasn’t “great,” and had a lot of holes and loose ends, in a very messy last third with a predictable ending.  It was sorta cockamamie and convoluted. Still, if you like science fiction and “Twilight Zone” types of entertainment–as I do–you will probably like this (though this is Twilight Zone lite–very, very lite, and Rod Serling is probably turning over in his grave by the comparison).

Damon has his whole future planned out for him by a mysterious group of people with special powers, the “Adjustment Bureau,” which is sort of like a corporation.  They follow people around the world and make sure that they don’t deviate from the plan set out for them.  When they do, the Adjustment Bureau comes in to secretly make adjustments to correct the deviation and put them back on course.

In Damon’s case, he deviates from the plan by meeting and trying to find and romance the woman of his dreams, Emily Blunt, whom he meets on election night in his first try for the U.S. Senate.  He’s in the men’s room preparing his concession speech.  Thereafter, we watch him try to find this woman–and each time he finds her, get thwarted by the Adjustment Bureau.

The part that is silly are the “rules” of the Adjustment Bureau.  They wear hats, and if you wear a hat, you could throw them off.  They are omniscient, in that they can hear and know what you are saying and thinking, but if you’re on water (like on a New York Ferry) or in the middle of rainy weather, they can’t.  Huh?  It’s kind of like a bedtime story my father used to ad-lib in trying to lull me to sleep as a kid (except my brilliant father was far more creative).

Still, I really had no objections to the movie, other than the completely frustrating mess it was in the last third and the in-your-face shots of Jackson and dimwit Albright, which were unnecessary and irksome.  We know, though, that if uber-liberal, neo-Marxist Matt Damon were to run for office, he’d be hanging with these far-left frauds.  And, in watching him give political speeches in this movie, it’s almost as if he’s auditioning for a real-life run, something his equally loathsome close pal, Ben Affleck has often expressed a desire to do.  In an appearance, this week, on CNN, Damon let us all know that he’s far, far to the left of Barack Obama.  He said we need to strangle Wall Street and the bankers because they’re so wealthy, yet, “they don’t make anything. They don’t build anything.”  Hey, Matt, POT. KETTLE. BLACK.

Whenever I review a Matt Damon movie, some readers say they will not go to his movies or give him a penny because he helped fund and promote the Marxist, anti-American version of history put forth by his late friend, Howard Zinn.  To those readers, I hear ya.  But I’m critiquing this movie on its face, and it was okay (but just okay), so I’m giving it . . .


Watch the trailer . . .

*  “Take Me Home Tonight“:  More like, Stay Home Tonight and away from this awful movie.  This is one of the many pieces of dung that Michigan taxpayers subsidized via the Michigan Film Tax Credit, as part of the movie was shot in the state in exchange for a 42% rebate.  In the 1980’s I sat through a lot of bad movies set in the ’80s.  So, why do I have to sit through another bad movie set in the ’80s in the 2010s?

Topher (his pretentious abbreviation of his real name, Christopher) Grace co-wrote, co-produced, and stars in this absolutely awful,  over-sexed, drug-addled B-movie.  He told film critic Tom Long, “We wanted it to be like we just went back in a time machine to the ’80s.”  Um, here’s a tip, been there, seen that.  It was just as awful, and it’s called, “Hot Tub Time Machine” (read my review).  It’s like bad food flatulence repeating the bad repeat.  If I can say one good thing–the only good thing–about this movie (and it’s not a good thing for us, just for somebody else), it’s that all the one-hit wonders from the ’80s will get a much-needed royalty check for their songs on the movie’s soundtrack.

The story:  an MIT grad (Grace) is working at a video store because he can’t decide what to do with his life.  His high school crush enters the video store and he pretends he works at Goldman Sachs, so that she’ll be interested in him.  He and his best friend, a crazy fat guy, go to parties that night, and the whole night is a messy attempt for Grace to get the girl.  The night goes from topless women, cocaine, and a weird voyeur sex scene to even worse.   Vile, vulgar, and it’s just stupid garbage.  And, believe me, I’m making it sound far better than the utter trash that it is.


Watch the trailer .  .  .

* “Beastly“: This is a modern update of “Beauty and the Beast,” or is supposed to be. But, even though the message and moral of the story is a good one–against vanity and unkindness, this movie is chock full of a whole lot of bad acting and is mostly just plain annoying. It lacks the magic and charm that is the spark of previous silver screen incarnations of this story.

A vain, wealthy, popular high school teen is mean to his Black housekeeper (aren’t all rich White people rude to their Black housekeeper? they are in Hollywood) and his fellow students, including and especially a girl who thinks she’s a witch (one of the Olson twin bagladies). She apparently is really a witch and puts a curse on him. She turns him into a very hideous-looking person. He must make someone love him within a year, or he will remain permanently ugly. He cooks up a scheme to get his fellow student, Vanessa Hudgens (who is from a poor family and who is threatened with death by her addict father’s drug dealer), to stay with him in the house where his father put him when he turned ugly. He tries to get her to fall in love with him so he can change back. He does this–and learns humility and kindness–with the advice of the Black housekeeper and his blind tutor (Neil Patrick Harris).

Like I said, very bad acting. Also very predictable. But not the worst movie I’ve seen. It’s aimed at teens and 20-somethings, so for them it’s fine.


Watch the trailer . . .

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13 Responses

I’m glad to see you giving Matt Damon a fair shake, even though he will never top the outstanding performance he gave in his cameo in “Team America” World Police”. I had no desire to see that movie until I learned Terrance Stamp was in it as a stern, senior adjuster. Ah well, I can rent it some other day.

Thank you for explaining Tppher Grace’s name. I wondered how he got a name like that. I will not be seeing this movie at all. There are plenty of classic 80’s movies I can rent that I’m sure are better.

DavidJ on March 4, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    Kudos to DavidJ for the “Team America: World Police reference concerning Matt Damon.

    Best role I’ve ever seen him in. Oscar-worthy. 😉

    pitandpen on March 4, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Unfortunately, while it was a superb portrayal OF Matt Damon, it was by Trey that Damon was voiced, not by Matt. However, you ARE right—greatest portrayal of Damon ever, and Oscar worthy movie.

    Occam's Tool on April 24, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Judging from your review of “The Adjustment Bureau” (an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick short story, from what I’ve learned), I’ve seen that movie before. It was called “The Truman Show” with Jim Carrey. After seeing it, I started to doubt my own existence. But that’s just me.

The Reverend Jacques on March 4, 2011 at 10:15 pm

LOL! Did not know “Chrissy” Grace wrote and produced that stupid movie. I read today that it was made allllll the way back in 2007. It must be the Dead Zone Drop time for bad movies.

The dopey critic also wanted to know why “Chrissy” Grace was NOT a huge superstar yet (is there room for him with the World’s Champion of the World (Charlie Sheen) stealing all the headlines?)? He wisely pondered why Ashton Kutcher was thou’.

Glad to see feminism worked. Glad to see women are so empowered these days they are objectified in films more than ever. This time I am NOT just blaming the men.

Michael Fassbender seems interesting. Looking forward to his next film…

Skunky on March 4, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Beastly. It is another case of the ‘magic negro.’

Ayup. That’s right. Only black people know how to behave
with common decency.

Jack on March 5, 2011 at 10:38 pm

…looks more like your typical tatooed heavy metal nazi skinhead to me.
Not that there’s anything wrong with metal, tatoos and skin mind you.
And how many versions of ‘Take Me Home’ have we seen so far? Enough already.
One and a half Reagans total. Must be good week 😉

With so much garbage coming out of Hollywood I think Debbie must feel like the filter at the end of a sewer sometimes having to sift through so much crap to clarify what’s coming instead of us having to taste all that sewage…Yuck!

theShadow on March 5, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    Instead of letting Debbie do all your thinking, try checking out the movies first-hand. Critics, even the best ones, inevitably bring their own emotional baggage into their reviews. In the end, the only person you should trust is yourself.

    Incidentally, I prefer the films of today to those of some imagined “golden” age. Just my own observation.

    Seek on March 7, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Dear Seek—
      first, Critics, if they have predictable biases, can be great pre-evaluators of movies for you. Debbie’s biases are as forthright as the rest of her writing. If she says a kids’ movie is a good one (and she doesn’t review enough kids’ movies), then I can take my kids to it with no worries. If she hates them or notes profanity, then I don’t need to subject my kids to it.

      Second, on the subject of the Golden Age you are unfortunately full of it. Check out the writing and acting of “The Maltese Falcon,” “Casablanca,” “His Girl Friday,” “The Apartment,” “Some Like it Hot,” etc. I was born in 1962. By the time I was born, all of the truly greatest movies had already been made. Certainly the 2 best—“Citizen Kane,” the best artistic movie ever made and “Casablanca,” the best Hollywood Studio movie ever made, had already been done.

      Occam's Tool on April 24, 2011 at 11:36 pm

One of these days I’ll spend money on a movie in the theatre again. Adjustment Bureau looked promising, and I was almost willing to see that because so far Emily Blunt doesn’t deserve to be shunned just because she’s starring with Matt Damon. But when you mentioned Jesse Jackson and Madeline Albright, that killed it for me. I’ll wait for it to show up on my Netflix stream so I can fast-forward past those scenes.

Judie on March 6, 2011 at 8:10 am

From the trailer, Beastly is a commercial to recruit teens into the Wicca religion (similar to the TV series “Charmed”).

Gerald on March 6, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Instead of letting Debbie do all your thinking, try checking out the movies first-hand.

Because the tickets run from $5 to $10 a pop. You pick a set of reviewers who generally lean your way, and use them as a screen.

Polichinello on March 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Beastly – I heard that he was supposed to fall in love with her, despite the fact that she wasn’t pretty enough for him, in his “prince” state. Yeah, right. They “uglified” her by tangling her hair a bit. That’s it.

Now, if he had fallen in love with the witch he humiliated in the first place (because she wasn’t pretty enough), after she cursed him (he still looks pretty good, in a tattooed, pierced kind of way), now THAT would have been an interesting love story.

Michelle on March 7, 2011 at 5:39 pm

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