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Wick's Review

Created May 25, 2012 12:52AM PST • Edited Mar 23, 2013 02:11AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    A rich swamp of a movie, Adaptation teems with genres and ideas, truths and lies, self-referential irony and – not least – outstanding acting. A Florida swamp containing a rare orchid gestates the interlocking stories of a crazed plant dealer, the New Yorker writer who falls for him and the neurotic screenwriter who must turn their story into a movie script. That movie is Adaptation. Self-referential, remember.

    It’s not simple, but then what would you expect from the guys behind Being John Malkovich, its sister movie. Thus if you thought BJM was brilliant, Adaptation proves that more can be more.

    Extremely eccentric screenwriter Charlie Kaufman writes himself and his fictional twin brother into the picture, with a fat-suited Nic Cage playing the both of them, tense duality of brotherhood and all. That and an active internal sex life make the writer-brothers Kaufman more fascinating than charismatic.

    Adaptation ends up a full action movie, after first revealing itself as an insane thriller, with sudden death often incongruously intruding. Indeed its title proves its calling-card, as it evolves before our very eyes, always changing, adapting, yet somehow generally being just right. Amazing, really.

  3. Really Great 4.5

    Chris Cooper won an Oscar for his role as a Florida plant fanatic whose earthy convictions seduce Meryl Streep’s New Yorker writer. Cooper is a past master at earthy characters, with this one’s unquenchable fire for life making him understandably appealing to a buttoned-down writer.

    Meryl Streep’s character crosses more boundaries than in any two normal movies. Detached sophisticate, smitten philanderer, amateur porn star, crazed maniac – she deserved her Oscar nomination.

    Nicolas Cage plays twin brothers, neither likeable, and does it pretty well, though it’s not clear he deserved the Oscar nomination he received. Anyway, he’s Nic Cage, so what are you gonna do.

    Tons of bit parts and cameos make the large supporting cast a veritable swamp of semi-famous faces.

    • Tilda Swinton as a writer’s agent who rewards a successful client with sexual favors.
    • Curtis Hanson, famous director, as Meryl Streep’s husband.
    • David O. Russell, another famous director, as a dinner party guest.
    • Judy Greer and Maggie Gyllenhaal as eager girlfriends.
    • Ron Livingston as an asshole agent.
    • Brian Cox as a by-the-numbers scriptwriting guru.
    • Spike Jonze, famous director of this and Being John Malkovich, as himself.
    • Catherine Keener and John Malkovich as themselves.
  4. Male Stars Really Great 4.5
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Great 4.0

    Too clever by half but keeps it together, perhaps because it follows the 10 Commandments of script writing. Not those 10 Commandments of script writing, the other 10 Commandments of script writing. Cmon now.

  9. Direction Really Great 4.5
  10. Play Really Great 4.5

    That it is ironically self-referential several levels deep is perhaps not surprising since few movies feature so many writers as characters. There are two writers among the many couples and a pair of twin writers.

    Cassie from The Three

  11. Music Very Good 3.5
  12. Visuals Great 4.0

    7 stunts and an alligator puppeteer.

  13. Content
  14. Sordid 2.6

    The summary of this review says that Adaptation ends up a full action movie. Be warned.

    Oh yeah, and it purports to show Meryl Streep as an amateur porn star. Man, that woman can play anything!

  15. Sex Erotic 2.6
  16. Violence Brutal 2.6
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.6
  18. Glib 1.8

    Not to burst anybody’s bubble, but Charlie Kaufman don’t got a brother, twin or otherwise

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 2.3
  20. Biological Glib 1.7
  21. Physical Glib 1.3


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May 25, 2012 8:47PM

Regarding Wick’s Review
Me too, then it popped up on the Newly On-Demand list. Now I wish I’d rescreened Being John Malkovich first.

May 25, 2012 7:56AM

Regarding Wick’s Review
I had forgotten all about this movie. I remember it as being great also. I rated it on Netflix years ago… must have been pre VG