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Movie Review: Being John Malkovich

Story: Hats off to a brilliant screenplay by Charlie Kaufman and kudos to first time film director Spike Jonze (for those who recently joined my review list and for those who have already forgotten, I will recap -- Jonze, formerly a music video director, also recently co-starred in Three Kings, is married to Sofia Coppola and is an heir to the Spiegel Catalogue family fortune). This film is an original treat for the movie goer and certainly satisfies high on the quirky meter. It is very funny, singular and thoroughly enjoyable. I don't want to give too much of the plot away (as other reviewers have done), but suffice it to say that if you have ever wanted to walk in someone else's shoes for a bit - this film will give you a thrilling ride. You will also get fabulous puppets, surrealism, food for thought, gender bending, pets, art and originality. Have fun!

Acting: Everyone is special. John Cusack is consistently a shining star of understated acting. In what could have been an over the top (a la Nicholas Cage) performance turns out to be subtle and right on the money. Cameron Diaz, playing against type in a frumpy role, is, for once, not too annoying. Catherine Keener (Out of Sight and Your Friends and Neighbors) in a break out performance is brilliant, interesting to watch and I expect to see her in many more films in the future. Orson Bean, Mary Kay Place and Charlie Sheen all have delicious supporting roles. And then there is John needs to get some prize for this performance Malkovich. He is joyous.

Pets: One chimpanzee, one dog, one iguana and a parrot.

Visual Art: Nice painting in John Malkovich's apartment.

Sappy Factor: 0

Length: Under the 2-hour Lobo rule.

Quirky Meter (a sometime new category): 10