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  Film Reviews: Yup, That’s What Writer’s Block Is: Adaptation  

Wednesday, February 26
Yup, That’s What Writer’s Block Is: Adaptation
It is with great irony that I write this review a month after actually seeing Adaptation. There were many things that I wanted to say about this film, but the ideas kept flowing back and forth so rapidly they became elusive, even to the best of typing skills and a preponderance of free time.

It wasn’t so much writer’s block, as wanting to do justice to the team of Jonze and Kaufman. Spike and Charlie. The amazing duo that brought us “Being John Malkovitch.” Alone, each of them are beyond talented, together they manage a genius feeding frenzy.

Adaptation is, on the surface, the film version of Susan Orlean’s book, The Orchid Thief (a true story of beauty and obsession). Well, not so much the film version of the book, as it is the film version of Charlie Kaufman’s attempt to turn it into a book. Well, okay, so the book is in the movie, but the movie isn’t so much the book as it is of the book.

It’s terribly confusing, but so is the act of writing. For most people, writing will be fondly remembered as forced term papers, journal entries and Thank You letters to Grandma. For the others, like myself, who are delusional enough to believe that they might someday have that amazing idea that will become the next great thing that everyone talks about and inspires others to do the same…well, this movie is exactly what you might imagine your life to be once you get said idea and actually have to commit it to paper, lap top or quill pen and parchment.

There are certain truths to Adaptation. First, there is a Susan Orlean. Susan Orlean wrote a book called The Orchid Thief. The Orchid Thief was optioned by Hollywood. Hollywood called upon Charlie Kaufman to adapt the book. From there on out, things get hazy.

You see, there may or may not be a Donald Kaufman, Charlie’s self-obsessed twin brother who decides to write a film script of his own. Donald is everything that Charlie wants to be, save the awful script where the high point of the film is supposed to be a horse vs. motorcycle chase that represents the eternal struggle of horse vs. motorcycle.

There may or may not be a Seminole ritual involving the Ghost Orchid in powdered form. John LaRoche may or may not be a matter more than a simple story to Susan Orlean. Susan Orlean may or may not be an obsession of Charlie Kaufman’s. Charlie Kaufman may or may not have developed a brilliant script around an unadaptable novel.

Either way, this is a fun film that swears it will do everything to remain at its vital core – the adaptation of the book. After that promise, all bets are off because you’ve just entered the world that all writers refer to as “all I’m going to do is…” In that world, all rules, promises, simple tasks and follies that are confined only by the space-time continuum fall to the wayside.

And remember, a song by The Turtles isn’t necessarily the end of the world when you write your big script.

The Usual:

What It’s Worth: If you’ve ever wanted to write, this is a full-fare film. If you loved “Being John Malkovitch,” this is a full-fare film. Otherwise, it’s well worth the matinee.

Annoying Theater Goer: This is one of those movies that I end up annoying husband. I don’t want to give it all away, but there is a thing. I always seem to get this thing and it annoys husband. It’s like the time I told him I knew Bruce Willis was dead in “The Sixth Sense” as soon as he showed up late for their anniversary dinner – after all, what self-respecting wife orders all the way to the dessert course when she’s been stood up? If Bruce hadn’t been dead at that point, he was certainly well on his way…

Main Reason To See This Film: Nicholas Cage.

Main Reason Not To See This Film: You are one of those people that likes simple plots with conventional arcs and endings.

MPAA Rating: R

Nudity: Yes.

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