BEING JOHN MALKOVICH Send This Review to a Friend
The whimsical "Being John Malkovich", directed by Spike Jonze, deserves recognition as the most inventive film that was showcased at the recent New York Film Festival. The premise is that Craig (John Cusack), who gets a job as a file clerk in a weird company on the 7 1/2th floor of an office building--the ceilings are so low that employees have to walk stoop-shouldered--discovers a secret passageway through which one can for a brief period become actor John Malkovich.
This leads to a slew of complications. Malkovich himself is cast and the actor is a good sport about it all, allowing himself to be used in an array of odd situations and states of dress. As one might expect, there's comedy to be extracted from the inevitable sexual complications involving Craig, his wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz) and his sassy, sexy co-worker Maxine (Catherine Keener), and of course, Malkovich.
The problem Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman have is to keep all of this perking. About three quarters of the way the straining becomes evident and the romp gets out of hand. It's as if nobody knew how to end it, so the plot grows more silly than funny. However, for a good deal of the way "Being John Malkovich" is original and effervescent, and it can only be a plus for Malkovich's career. A U.S.A. Films release.