Reviews Cite 'Adjustment Bureau' Marketing

By Robert Marich
   March 5, 2011—The trailers and other marketing materials for Adjustment Bureau are getting mentions in reviews for not representing the movie well, with some going as far as to claim that the marketing is misleading audiences.
   New York Post critic Lou Lumenick wrote, “The misleading trailers for the supremely goofy The Adjustment Bureau promise action-packed sci-fi. What you actually get is a love-struck Matt Damon running for the US Senate as he’s stalked by fedora-wearing angels.”
   “The trailer for Matt Damon’s upcoming thriller The Adjustment Bureau starts out looking like a glossy romantic comedy but soon gets a serious case of Fringe-style paranoia as mysterious men in hats explain their mission,” writes Hugh Hart for
   The gist of comments is trailers convey that the Universal Pictures release that opened yesterday is an edgy sci-fi film like Inception. That positioning plays off the source of the movie—writings of Phillip K. Dick, whose other works spawned movies Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report. But the $60 million+ production of Adjustment Bureau is a genre bender that is more a romantic drama with fantasy elements as it explores the question can love overcome fate?
   “Ignore the ads,” says the headline of Robert Vaux's review on “One of the key roles of a critic (besides serving as a convenient target for death threats) is to warn audience members about misleading advertising,” writes Vaux. “The commercials and billboards for The Adjustment Bureau convey the tone of a paranoid thriller: a sort of Bourne Identity head game by way of Dark City. That ain’t this film.”
   Let’s not criticize the trailer and advertising too much. The story is a hybrid and clearly Universal decided to hit hard the sci-fi demographic, since author Dick has a following, even if that only covers half the movie. It is the fate of studio marketing departments everywhere to sell what is dropped in their lap.
   “The film has been bumped and shifted around the release schedule like a lost puppy looking for a home – supposedly for the studios to give it more time to advertise and reassess their first ad campaign – and will finally hit March 4th,” blogs Brian Mulligan at “The at times unintentionally laughable trailer has the feeling of a first-time filmmaker (George Nolfi) who’s not completely in control of the material he has to work with and lacking a real distinctive style.” 
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