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Being John Malkovich

Starring: John Malkovich, John Cusack, Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener
Directed by: Spike Jonz
Written by: Charlie Kaufman


This is one of the cleverest movies made in quite a while. Just a fun, mentally stimulating romp through the mind (literally) of Malkovich as they would like us to see him.

Here's the tale. John -handsome as a fresh groomed poodle- Cusack plays Craig. Craig's a down and out puppeteer who finds himself accepting a sub-menial job in a whacko company filing stuff. We never really know what kind of stuff...

One merry droning day Craig discovers an odd rabbit-like hole behind a cabinet. Very Alice Through the Looking Glass-ish. This hole takes us not to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb but straight into the head of world famous thespianarian John Malkovich.

WHAT? Yep! Clever huh? Good thing they actually got the real Malkocabbitch to play Maltomilkballvich huh? The man obviously knows a good script when he sees one. Writer Charlie Kaufman's script needed the guy to work - David Spade as Malkovich wasn't gonna cut it...

Back to our tale. So Craig , being ever the capitalist, decides, "Hey here's a way to make some extra dough off people who want to escape reality for a few minutes." He'll invite people -for a few- to hang out in Malkovitch's mind. They get a mere 15 minutes.

Hmm. I, would rather have hung out in George Clooney's girlfriend de jour's head personally, but Malkie ended up being surprisingly fun. There's one scene that'll have you heavin' with laughter - it's cola snorting time...Craig manipulates Malkovich's movements and makes him do a freaky towel dance ala Martha Graham squared. You have not lived till you've seen Malkovich do the towel dance. Okay. You have but it's friggin' hilarious folks.

But things are about to get weirder...Malkovitch finds out about the little start-up company involving his mind and gets all huffy. He threatens to sue! Then in a film history moment, Malkovich goes down the portal - himself - into himself. He finds himself in a sea of Malkovichs! Heavy concept huh? A bit of movie TrigAlgebra.

John Cusack was in that Lame-o-Rama Pushing Tin this year and he needed redemption. He found it. Now, don't get me wrong. He is always superb, acting wise, as well as cinnamon bun sweet on the retina, Pushing Tin's script sucked twas all. Another attempted Cusack fix of mine went all haywire, as the dear boy was seen way to briefly in The Thin Red Line. I really did sit through a war movie, and I mean a war movie for him. So, I was up for a little Cusack fix. Know what I mean? Oh, his sure his extra-fab-talent-squared sister Joan was in fabulous Arlington Road, but alas, I am nay a clamdigger, so that was not my idea of a Cusack fix. So the gods were cruel by granting me this great movie with a great actor then he shows up all gruff and sleazy; a Scum-A-Snarous Rex - visually in this. JC looked like a Bohemian-espresso sipping-puppet master, with odious charm, but I suppose at least I got to see him. Good work, John. Purr-Usual. He's one of our best actors. Disagree? Get your own review!

John Malkovich, in case you're unfamiliar with him, is an act-tore. That is to say, he gives one the appearance that he goes around spewing Shakespeare quotes in daily conversation at the lesser, common folk, and punctuates these verbal above-isms with grand Thespian gestures of long ago West End idols. Well, not in this movie. He sheds his PBS demeanor and seems to genuinely enjoy frolicking around making a horse's arse of himself. What an actor! To play yourself, as a character must be one of the hardest things one can do. Very vulnerable position that was.

Oh, by the way, a dowdy-had-to-look-twice to verify, Cameron 'Perky Smile' Diaz plays Craig's love Lotte. Cameron is one of those "just cool" star-looking people. But here we see Cam's got some real talent hidden behind all that beauty.

Then there's Catherine Keener in the tasty talent pot. This chickbabe's oozing brilliance in everything she does and here is no exception. Catherine makes little girls want to act.

Director Spike Jonz is someone to watch. He is best known for whacko-weird music videos, off the wall commercials and such. I believe that'll change. He's got that askew eyeball, like Tim Burton, only maybe, not as macabre. Can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

Being John Malkovich is a twisted tale that shouldn't work, but with the cast they've gotten to romp through this wacky brilliant script by Charlie Kaufman, it does. Check it out immediately.

SNACK RECOMMENDATION: Take Out Sushi (It's brain food, rich in Omega 3)


 

 

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