My one wish for any cultural phenomenon that could emerge as a result of seeing The Adjustment Bureau is that more men will start wearing fedoras. Inevitably, this is a movie that, like The Social Network and Inception, will lead people to believe they're seeing a "smart film." The only real reason I suppose that leap could be made is because it's based on the Philip K. Dick story "Adjustment Team" and it is an examination of whether or not the human race truly has free will (always a subjective topic that depends on one's religious leanings).
George Nolfi, who collaborated previously with Matt Damon on The Bourne Ultimatum and Ocean's Twelve, wrote the script for The Adjustment Bureau in a, shall we say, much more divergent form than Dick's original story--one such example of divergence being the absence of a talking dog.
Another critical discrepancy between "Adjustment Team" and The Adjustment Bureau is that the lead character (Ed Fletcher in the former, David Norris in the latter) is married to a woman named Ruth who works for the government in Dick's rendering, and yet, the entire premise of the film version is based on the idea of Norris, a notorious bachelor, being attracted to Elise (Emily Blunt), in what is a case of the ultimate in forbidden love by "the powers that be" (mainly John Slattery as Richardson, an alternate version of Roger Sterling from Mad Men in that they both dress like it's 1965 and have an authoritative presence).
In "Adjustment Team," the main event that must occur according to "the plan" is the purchase of land in Canada by Ed Fletcher's boss so that an anthropological discovery can be made that will diminish global tensions in favor of collaborative action, whereas the chief concern in The Adjustment Bureau is making sure David Norris becomes president and Elise Sellas becomes a renowned choreographer and dancer. Somehow the first objective seems a little more significant.
Adaptation, obviously, allows for liberal translation. And all of Nolfi's cinematic choices serve a purpose. It is, however, Nolfi's somewhat conspicuous spiritual agenda that betrays Dick's original intent (something his daughter, Isa Dick Hackett, couldn't give less of a fuck about considering she was an executive producer on the film). While The Adjustment Bureau is, without question, the best new release to arrive theaters in several months, it leaves one to question what that says about the options audiences have to choose from.