Picks and Pans Review: Human Nature
Funny or not funny? Two white mice, wired up with electrodes, sit at a dollhouse kitchen table trying to decide which of three tiny forks to use for a salad. Buzzzzz! Wrong fork. An etiquette-challenged rodent rears back as an electric jolt zings through him after a lab-coated scientist presses a button.
If you vote funny, then you're in for a wacky treat. Human Nature, written by the preternaturally quirky Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich) and directed with zip by French newcomer Michel Gondry (who honed his chops on videos and ads), takes an askew approach to asking why we do what we do, i.e., fall in love, have sex, betray each other. It focuses on the romantic travails of an excessively hirsute woman (Arquette) who hides her condition from her beau (Robbins), a behavioral psychologist—the fellow playing Miss Manners with the mice. Moving on from the furry creatures, he attempts to civilize a man (Ifans) who grew up in the wild thinking he was an ape. As the plot gets weirder and weirder, Nature's whimsy stretches thin, but much of this is bizarrely amusing and the game actors are obviously having a blast doing something so different. (R)
Bottom Line: Wild fun