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
"Human Nature" is a comedy written by "Being John Malkovich's" Charlie Kaufman and it doesn't fail to carry the distinct aroma of his previous film. The film explores our so-called "primal urges" and our need to live naturally with deep consideration of those urges.
Patricia Arquette plays Lila Jute, a human naturist who has a little problem. She is suffering from a hormonal balance that causes her to be abnormally covered with body hair. While this does not pose much of a concern for her personally, it does for everyone else and more specifically, men. After getting fed up with the world, she decided to live in the forest amongst the animals and write best-selling nature books. However the animal in her begins to miss the precious company of men and so she returns to civilization. Lila shaves her body hair and begins a somewhat odd relationship with Nathan Bronfman (Tim Robbins). Nathan happens to be an etiquette scientist who tries to teach mice and Lila table manners. One day, Lila and Nathan come across an untamed man (Rhys Ifans) who was raise by a father who believed himself to be a monkey. That man is later nicknamed Puff. The Puff creature happens to be the perfect subject for Dr. Nathan Bronfman as he changes Puff's wild ways to more more cultivated conduct. Lila is left torn between lying about her "human nature" or embracing her urges and running wild.
Perhaps I'm as prude as Tim Robbins's character, however there is no appreciation of the refined gross-out humor in my sight. It appears as though the crude humor found its way into the movie for no reason other than the fact it could. Luckily the film makes up for that in very unique cinematography. The interesting camera angles and settings take away a bit from the numerous unnecessary masturbation jokes and bodily fluid gags. There were many other ways that such a creative team of filmmakers could have coped with them in a more substantial manner and prevented their detraction of the finer aspects of the movie.
The finer aspects of the film include the brilliant acting from some of the somewhat less familiar faces in Hollywood. Actress Patricia Arquette creates a character that is believable, originative and daring. She inhibits Lila with great ease and manages to push all the right buttons to make her tick just the right way. Rhys Ifans fills Puff's shoes with more content than expected. While he is able to add much to the film due to his comedic nature, there are a few points in the film where Rhys is able to show even greater depth. Both actors make great counterparts.
At times obscene and at others strange, the comedy manages to tackle some more thought-provoking issues, outside of humping. "Human Nature" discusses issues of evolution, the human desire to blend in and what it really is that makes us human. It walks through a somewhat slow and unstructured journey that imprints the difference between civilization, monkeys and mankind.
Despite its charms, "Human Nature" is not what it could have been. It does not live up to its potential because the filmmakers decided to make too many hollow & irrelevant stops and too few truly important ones. In the end, "Nature" is daring, well acted, unique, intelligent in spirit and very very crude.
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