|By Mira Harber
Picture the eternal 'nature vs. nurture' as conceived by the writer/director
of Being John Malkovich, and you are in for a treat. Human Nature is an
off-the-wall comedy about man, his impulses and instincts - can they be
overcome by some really, really good table manners? These are the questions
posed in Human Nature.
The three main characters embody three different aspects of human nature.
Dr. Nathan Bronfman (Tim Robbins) was raised by his fanatical parents (Mary
Kay Place & Robert Forster) who praised good table manners above all
else - in fact, if poor Nathan chose the wrong fork, it was off to bed,
with no dinner for him. He matures into a scientist who studies the table
manners of trained mice until he meets the ideal subject Puff (Rhys Ifans,
the hilariously vulgar room-mate in Notting Hill). Puff has been raised
as an ape in the wild. He believes himself to be an ape, with all of an
apes desires and appetites, particularly sexual appetites. Lila (Patricia
Arquette) is a beautiful, incredibly hairy woman who has fled mankind to
live in the wild, because of her totally hirsute body. She eventually becomes
a famous nature writer, and returns to mankind, because she is so horny.
Can you see menage-a-trois coming?
Round out this cast with the requisite French sex-kitten Gabrielle (Miranda
Otto) and you've got the basic cast of characters, and their motivations.
Lila returns to mankind, and with the help of a sensitive electrologist
(Rosie Perez) she begins the long road to hair-less-ness. She meets Nathan,
and manages to disguise her truly hairy body from him - she is so horny,
she'll do anything, including total body electroysis to get her man. Lila
becomes Nathan's assistant in the study of the ape-man Puff. At first,
Puff is isolated behind a solid plexi-glass wall in a drab, desolate kind
of cage. As he becomes more 'civilized' his surroundings improve until
his quarters come to resemble those of an English gentleman. His final
hilarious test takes place at a Hooters- like restaurant. Has his baser
'animal' nature been overcome?
This movie is pretty out there, and not for everyone. I found it incredibly
funny in spots, really uneven and draggy in others. I would only suggest
that real lovers of independent, odd-ball movies try to check out this
movie. If it meets your sensibility, you will be charmed and amused. If
not, stay home or try something more mainstream - Human Nature is
not for the faint-hearted, or those remotely uncomfortable with sex and