Human Nature Reviews
Gondry's a great visual artist, but his twee conceits can't always support a whole script; Kaufman's a weird genius with words, but his concepts are often too ludicrous and neverending. Together, they blend the visuals and weirdness, clean up the other's cuteness or brokenness, and deliver a zany and rambunctious tale of wild nature or human legitimacy; sex in all its many, many manifestations; and culture as an experiment or a mistake or something better.
We meet all the characters at present, then flash back for most of their stories. Nathan (Tim Robbins), in a whitewashed Heaven with a gunshot scar in his head, was actually a behavioral scientist. Puff (Rhys Ifans), urbanely testifying before Congress, was actually a man-ape that Nathan eventually studied. Lila (Patricia Arquette), in a police interrogation before she starts serving a life sentence, was actually an embarrassingly fur-covered young woman who befriended both Nathan and Puff.
In a pivotal side-plot (but one that doesn't necessitate the same flashback framing), Nathan's lab assistant Gabrielle (Miranda Otto -- extreme, over-the-top, French-accented cuteness -- I can't believe Eowyn had such a previous role) flirts with her supervisor and lands in the middle of the whole complex and strange satire.