Careening from L.A. parties to gator-infested wetlands, Spike Jonze's Adaptation, about the attempts of writer Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) to turn journalist Susan Orlean's best-selling Orchid Thief into a movie, lassos such big and small themes as Darwinian evolution, Tinseltown phoniness, and the principles of a popular screenwriting seminar. Meryl Streep plays a version of Orlean, and Chris Cooper is John Laroche, whose real-life arrest for poaching rare "ghost" orchids drew Orlean into the strange world of south Florida horticulturists in the first place. (Opens this month.)
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