Human Nature

Rated NR

From screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich) comes this satirical fable about the thin line separating humans from beasts, the trauma of table manners and the agony of electrolysis. Tim Robbins plays Nathan, a behavioral anthropologist who "rescues" a feral man dubbed Puff (Rhys Ifans) from his wild existence and "civilizes" him, with the help of his preternaturally hirsute girlfriend Lila (Patricia Arquette, a good sport in an exceedingly unflattering role). Unfortunately, this Monty Pythonesque burlesque on Truffaut’s The Wild Child and just about every Tarzan movie—directed by French music-video-maker Michael Gondry—belabors its simplistic point: the question of what really makes us human. The three leads are uniformly excellent, especially Welshman Ifans (Americans know him best from The Replacements and Notting Hill), whose Puff embraces the sophisticated world to such alacrity that you almost believe his transformation. But in the end, he does it all for the nookie. Extra points awarded for a Kris Kristofferson quotation and Arquette’s Disney-like musical interlude.

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