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David O. Russell, the director of dark incest comedy SPANKING THE MONKEY, slapstick ensemble FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, and Gulf War adventure THE THREE KINGS, has established himself as a boldly original filmmaker. With his fourth film, I HEART HUCKABEES, Russell continues to defy easy definition, mixing physical comedy, existential philosophy, corporate satire, and quixotic quest. Jason Schwartzman, proving that he is capable of more than simply reviving his iconic RUSHMORE character, plays Albert, an environmental activist prone to bad poetry and self-doubt. During his campaign to stop Huckabees, a suburban superstore, from destroying marshland, Albert's group is taken over by one of the store's vapidly charming salesmen, a pitch-perfect Jude Law. Utterly distraught and questioning the meaning of life, Albert seeks the help of a bizarre husband-and-wife team of "existential detectives." By spying on Albert's daily life, they seek to help him answer that most elemental of human questions, "Why am I here?"...

Billed as "an existential comedy,"I Heart Huckabeesis a flawed yet endearingly audacious screwball romp that dares to ponder life's biggest questions. Much of director David O. Russell's philosophical humor is dense, talky, and impenetrable, leading critic Roger Ebert to observe that "it leaves the viewer out of the loop," and suggesting that Russell's screenplay (written with his assistant, Jeff Baena) is admirably bold yet frustratingly undisciplined. Russell's ideas are big but his expression of them is frenetic, centering on the unlikely pairing of an environmentalist (Jason Schwartzman) and a firefighter (Mark Wahlberg) as they depend on existential detectives (Lily Tomlin, Dustin Hoffman) and a French nihilist (Isabelle Huppert) to make sense of their existential crises, brought on (respectively) by a two-faced chain-store executive (Jude Law) and his spokesmodel girlfriend (Naomi Watts), and the aftermath of 9/11's terrorism. No brief description can do justice to Russell's comedic conceit; you'll either be annoyed and mystified or elated and delighted by this wacky primer for coping with 21st century lunacy. Deserving of its mixed reviews,I Heart Huckabeesis an audacious mess, like life itself, and accepting that is the key to enjoying both.--Jeff Shannon
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CastDustin Hoffman, Naomi Watts, Mark Wahlberg, Isabelle Huppert, Darlene Hunt, Lily Tomlin, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Angela Grillo, Ger Duany
DirectorDavid O. Russell
Genre:  Comedy, Drama
Release Date:  22 October 2004 (USA)
MPAA Rating:  R
Screen WriterDavid O. Russell, Jeff Baena
DVD Release Date:  February 22, 2005
Runtime:  107 min
Studio:  Fox Searchlight Pictures
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More I ♥ Huckabees reviews
review by . January 02, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Infinite Laughter: The Layman's Guide to Grasping Existential Humor
From director David O. Russell (Three Kings) comes the film I ♥ Huckabees, a quirky comedy that dares to be intelligent and self-satirical. The film's screenplay, which was written by David O. Russell and Jeff Baena, is surprisingly original, for a comedy that is. Delving into quasi-spiritual/philosophical ideas, I ♥ Huckabees is at times pretentious and too pleased with itself. But if the film comes off as being smug, it does so in a paradoxically unobtrusive manner. What the film …
review by . November 02, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
This movie is obviously not for everyone. It's not a comedy that you just put in and sit back and be shut down the old cranium for the two plus hour's. Nope, instead you get the muscle a-cranking. Huckabees requires you to really pay attention and think and take everything in. This film explores several questions mainly dealing with the connection between one person and to the heart, soul, and body of every other thing in existence in an ever-changing world. This film is a big orgy of questioning. …
review by . February 22, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
I Heart Huckabees is certainly not your everyday comedy and for you to even snicker your going to have to watch it a few times. It gets very weird then it gets a little dry but what saves it is the performances of Mark Wahlberg, Jude Law, and Jason Schwartzman. If they didn't put in a little extra effort then this film would have tanked. I Heart Huckabees definitely isn't for everyone but it's worth at least one watch for a few laughs.
review by . February 24, 2005
I HEART HUCKABEES is odd, weird, unfocused, overly obtuse, and flagrantly over directed and produced. So why bother seeing it? Well, given all the above negatives, it all depends on what you expect from spending and hour and a half of your time with an experimental film. First clue: the cast. There must be a reason that such class actors as Isabelle Huppert, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Dustin Hoffman, and yes, Lily Tomlin would want to be a part of this mélange of comedy and philosophy and environmental …
review by . December 02, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: acting, script, premise, hilarity     Cons: believe it or not... JUDE LAW!, a little messy (but in a good way...)     The Bottom Line: Watching the [existential] detectives     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot. I was going to go see Bridget Jones 2, but one of the people I was hanging out with had already seen it, so we decided to see I Heart Huckabees instead. Man, am I glad we made that choice! …
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