Two bumbling store clerks inadvertently erase the footage from all of the tapes in their video rental store. In order to keep the business running, they re-shoot every film in the store with their own camera, with a budget of zero dollars.
A philosophical burlesque, Human Nature follows the ups and downs of an obsessive scientist, a female naturalist, and the man they discover, born and raised in the wild. As scientist Nathan trains the wild man, Puff, in the ways of the world - starting with table manners - Nathan's lover Lila fights to preserve the man's simian past, which represents a freedom enviable to most. In the power struggle that ensues, an unusual love triangle emerges exposing the perversities of the human heart and the idiosyncrasies of the civilized mind. Human Nature is a comical examination of the trappings of desire in a world where both nature and culture are idealized.Written by
Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman received a great deal of acclaim for his "Being John Malkovich" script, but while that film contained many quirky and inventive ideas, the plot fell apart in the third act, making for an ultimately unsatisfying experience. The same can be said for his second produced script, "Human Nature," which is chock-full of good ideas but ultimately unravels. Kaufman is clever and a jokester, he's just not much of a scenarist.
On the up side, there's a lovely performance by Patricia Arquette, who's not afraid of any of the many bizarre turns her character goes through, and director Michel Gondry (who has made terrific videos for Bjork and others) does the best that he can with the script. (Although those CG mice are pretty lame once they are set free.)
Not an unalloyed success, but some elements here definitely work. Too bad they don't all come through.
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