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I Heart Huckabees

A movie directed by David O. Russell

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Infinite Laughter: The Layman's Guide to Grasping Existential Humor

  • Jan 2, 2009
Rating:
+4

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 doesn't do is get on a soapbox and start proselytizing its viewers. Instead we are given the choice to agree or disagree with the film's philosophical messages, and most importantly, the choice to laugh or not laugh.
Opposites

 

The story follows four disparate individuals, all of who are in the middle of identity crises, as they attempt to find meaning in their lives.

Albert Markowski, an insecure environmentalist and poet, is searching for an answer to a series of bizarre coincidences involving an African refugee. Albert hires an eccentric pair of "existential detectives", Vivian and Bernard Jaffe, to discover the hidden meaning behind these coincidences. But Albert gets more than he bargained for as the detectives examine and dismantle his daily life. Interfering with his work and introducing him to concepts of cosmic interconnectivity, Albert's life begins to crumble and yet he finds a kindred spirit in the form of his "other".

Albert's "other" is a politically disgruntled fireman named Tom Corn. Tom is frustrated with Vivian and Bernard's philosophical ideas, feeling that they fail to explain the chaotic, destructive, and seemingly pointless aspects of human existence. Soon Albert Tom find themselves drifting towards the ideas of the sexy and nihilistic Caterine Vauban, a former student of Vivian and Bernard, who embraces the chaos and purposelessness of life. Caterine teaches Tom and Albert to stop worrying about the "big picture", and to live in the here and now.

Meanwhile Brad Stand, a selfish, celebrity-obsessed sales executive for the Huckabees Corporation, does his best to unnerve Albert, who has been protesting the destruction of a marsh to make way for a new Huckabees store. Brad even begins seeing Vivian and Bernard just to make Albert resentful. But Brad's girlfriend, Dawn, a model working for Huckabees, begins to but into the existential detectives' philosophies and she starts questioning the validity of her relationship with Brad. As their relationship disintegrates and Dawn rebels against Huckabees' corporate empire, Brad's life turns into hell.

As their lives interconnect, Albert, Tom, Brad, and Dawn learn that the separate ideas of Vivian and Bernard, and Caterine are both lacking. They learn that all things are connected, but it doesn't matter if you can't live in the moment.

 

 

The film features an amazing cast including Jason Schwartzman as Albert Markowski, Mark Wahlberg as Tom Corn, Jude Law as Brad Stand, Naomi Watts as Dawn Campbell, Dustin Hoffman as Bernard Jaffe, Lily Tomlin as Vivian Jaffe, and Isabelle Huppert as Caterine Vauban. The film also features Tippi Hedren, Isla Fischer, and Shania Twain, in a hilarious cameo as herself. The entire cast shines with comedic brilliance and it's their collective efforts that really keep the film's narrative from drifting into incoherence and psychobabble.

 The Existential Detectives hard at work...
Both absurd and insightful, I Huckabees is a rare comic gem that should entertain as well as enlighten.

Infinite Laughter: The Layman's Guide to Grasping Existential Humor Opposites Existential detectives hard at work Superficial lives...

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January 10, 2010
I this flick! Where'd you get the heart? stole it from someone? LOL
January 10, 2010
I took it from a font style on Microsoft Word. I'm amazed that it worked, since special characters rarely do.
January 10, 2010
which one?
January 10, 2010
Which one what?
January 10, 2010
the font style?
January 10, 2010
I'm not sure. It was on a different computer and with a different version of Word than I'm using now. I might be able to tell you on Monday when I go to the local library (that's where I did it from).
 
January 05, 2009
I liked the part about being smug in a paradoxically unobtrusive manner. For some reason I've never even picked this film up to look at the box. I think I had written it off as something else entirely, probably some kind of middle class family comedy which it obviously is not.
 
January 02, 2009
It's not a film for everyone, but I loved it. David O. Russell suggested that he might one day make a sequel about the Brad Stand character and if he does, I'll look forward to it.
 
1
More I ♥ Huckabees reviews
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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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 ...
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Details

Director: David O. Russell
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Release Date: 22 October 2004 (USA)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: David O. Russell, Jeff Baena
DVD Release Date: February 22, 2005
Runtime: 107 min
Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures
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