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Overall Rating

Awesome: 31.71%
Worth A Look44.72%
Average: 0.81%
Pretty Bad: 17.07%
Total Crap: 5.69%

11 reviews, 57 user ratings

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I Heart Huckabees
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by Natasha Theobald

"This one left me with a big question mark."
4 stars

I'm not sure I heart this movie, as such, but it did make me laugh and make me think. The cast is chock full of talent, and the ride was wild enough to keep me strapped in and facing forward. I have a tendency to over-think things, sometimes, so I don't want to get too caught up into the meanings of the philosophies thrown about in this. It did make me wonder, though, if a greater point was there to be had. This post-mortem, a couple of days later, makes me think more that trying to make sense of such things just leaves them seeming more nonsensical. My advice is this: let go, laugh, and enjoy the experience.

The story of the film follows on the heels of a coincidence. It's no big deal, mind you, but it is enough to bring Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman) to a pair of married existential detectives, played by Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman. He wants them to solve the mystery of his coincidence, but it is their wont to dig much deeper, into the very fabric of his existence and of all existence, in fact. This leads them into the lives of Brad (Jude Law) and Dawn (Naomi Watts), a golden couple with a life so blessed that they don't feel the need to ask the big questions that plague the rest of us. But they will, oh, once these detectives have their day.

In the process of understanding his life, Albert is partnered with another client of said detectives, a fireman with a serious disdain for petroleum use at large (Mark Wahlberg). By joining their paths, these two men are better equipped to solve the mystery of Albert's coincidence, as well as touch on the very mysteries of life. The two start with the existential detectives, but their path leads them to a darker place, with the aid and succor of another woman (Isabelle Huppert), who used to work with the detectives but now serves as counterpoint to their very point, indeed.

It is okay if you are confused. Even put in the simplest terms, the plot of this movie leads to some confusion. It does earn big points for creativity, however. The very idea of existential detective work is truly something, though I'm not sure what. Suffice to say that you don't have to understand the whole to enjoy its parts. And there are many parts to enjoy.

Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman seem to really play off one another well, and there is great joy present in both of their performances. They move in the realms of wacky and so, so sane without batting a lash, and, as up in the clouds as they are, they are the grounding force of the movie. They are the beginning and the end of all points going to and coming away from them. They are the heart.

Jason Schwartzman plays a man searching for something. The fact that he doesn't know exactly what he seeks or how to get it makes him decidedly human. He is us, the audience, in the story. He is as clueless as we are, and it is his path that we and he blindly follow. Mark Wahlberg is there to help us understand him and give momentum to his journey. His character is in earnest and all the more lovable for it.

Jude Law plays the kind of guy most people would like to believe a guy who looks like Jude Law is -- shallow, driven, and trading on his looks and charm to get the good life at half price. He is Albert's nemesis and negative. He is surviving the flip side of Albert's life and journey, yet it is where they find similarities that they find humanity. Naomi Watts plays Law's girlfriend, a woman who has been paid to be pretty. It is only when she questions the value of that that she plunges from her pedestal and sees such an existence for what it really is. Her need for discovery is also in earnest.

It feels like I'm talking in circles and not saying much, but that is the experience of this film. You will laugh a lot, but you will also spend a good amount of time scratching a worn patch into your head, wondering what the hell it all means, if anything. The performances are energetic, and the writing is beyond creative. If you like to see things unlike things you have seen before, this is your trip.

Zany? Not many things in life are really described by that word, but it is as close as I may come to summing this film. The funny thing, though, is that there is some real thought put into big questions and potential answers, as well. Zany and thoughtful? It doesn't seem possible, but it is the impossible answer that we seek. Right?

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originally posted: 03/10/05 10:32:47
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Mill Valley Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Mill Valley Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Leeds Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Leeds Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

8/11/13 BB I love this movie. It's one of my all time favorites. Just funny. 5 stars
6/27/11 DR A hugely misguided philosophy that fails to satisfy itself within its running time. 1 stars
5/30/10 Roy Unsatisfing and basically random, fails as drama since people don't act like this. 2 stars
3/20/10 OHjAwdl JscaOGTU 1 stars
7/31/08 Ramone Gets better with each viewing - great cast, esp. Wahlberg. 4 stars
3/08/08 pin Wes Anderson meets Charlie Kaufman, sort of. 4 stars
7/11/07 Hello Stranger although dumbed down on thie matter, it is very original. made me think alot! 5 stars
7/10/06 Marty watch it as a parody and it's a lot of absurd fun 5 stars
7/04/06 Ashley Hinz Absolute Trash, I could not finish it. Took it out after less than 10 minutes. 1 stars
3/11/06 Tanya very good very funny 5 stars
2/21/06 Agent Sands Hilarious. Hilarious. Hilarious. Hilarious. Hilarious. 5 stars
2/01/06 chris. people need to read philosophy before hailing this as groundbreaking...but i like it 4 stars
12/14/05 Ewok Best of 2004. Law should have won an Oscar. Best score ever. 5 stars
12/13/05 Citizen Kane C-R-A-P! this movie should be erased!!! 1 stars
12/09/05 millersxing the damn movie crawls inside my head and lays eggs. 5 stars
10/27/05 Lizz Brilliant timing, unprentious sophistication, fun! 5 stars
9/05/05 Mike Simon got it. This film = read everything as fast as possible. Understand? Of course not! 1 stars
8/19/05 ES I'll second Simon's decree 2 stars
7/25/05 Bad Critic Hoffman and Schwartzman are great, but the plot is sort-of hard to follow. 4 stars
6/10/05 Simon This intellectual-bullshit movie is too in love with itself to have any cinematic merit. 2 stars
6/08/05 Agent Sands A very creative and interesting film. Isabelle Huppert gave me a boner, which isn't usual. 5 stars
5/25/05 Jake Funny, Bizarre, and brilliant. 5 stars
5/16/05 Indrid Cold Funny, thought-provoking but uneven in tone and pacing. 4 stars
5/14/05 BoyInTheDesignerBubble One day will be a cult hit like Harold & Maude. 4 stars
5/07/05 Who Am I? Pretentious? For dumbed-down ignorant fools maybe, but a great film for the rest of us 4 stars
5/01/05 Mike Hawk Sublime film balancing metaphysics and comedy 5 stars
4/25/05 OverTheRainbow It's movie that makes you think; by the third time, maybe you will get it 4 stars
3/26/05 hannaho Hilariously transcendental! 4 stars
3/15/05 steandric with naomi watts in a brilliant comic role, nothing can go wrong with this film. 5 stars
3/05/05 chris. warning: you might have to actually use your BRAIN when you watch this movie. not for all! 5 stars
3/05/05 Matthew Studley Worthless piece of garbage. Don't mistake lack of talent for genius. 1 stars
2/26/05 strangelows pretentious, self-indulgent and rather boring crap 2 stars
12/27/04 Steve I was very bored by this movie, despite quality cinemetography. 2 stars
12/20/04 David Alexander All dialogue not funny very sick good actors bad film 1 stars
12/18/04 AL JOHNSON A clever,refreshingly different film.My faith in the film industy is restored. 5 stars
12/06/04 Jimmy Kustes I second the Jon Brion comment 5 stars
11/10/04 maximus Really funny but odd 4 stars
11/09/04 scooter The Soundtrack by Jon Brion is awesome! 5 stars
11/07/04 Elena If you didn't appreciate this you are intellectually devoid. A masterpiece! 5 stars
10/28/04 Amy Brilliant, but not for dumbed-down audiences! 5 stars
10/28/04 Lily superb: when brad&albert circle after al sees brad cry, centraly illustrates we are All One 5 stars
10/27/04 Mike H. This film is one of the most enjoyable,entertaining and thought provoking I have seen. 5 stars
10/26/04 ajay funny at parts, but it was a little too abstract for me. 2 stars
10/25/04 Jay Finally a movie worth the $9.00 admission price! 5 stars
10/25/04 Titus Not quite as satisfying as it promised, but a thoroughly worthy film. 4 stars
10/24/04 DM Fucking weird but surprisingly funny 4 stars
10/23/04 Kristen Hannum Brilliant fillm - funny, moving, thought-provoking. A feast for the confused. 5 stars
10/23/04 jcjs loved it 5 stars
10/15/04 Donanymous If you didn't like this movie, you're just too dumb to get it. It was brilliant!! 5 stars
10/13/04 Sherry original, funny, terrific cast, but a lot of work. 4 stars
10/13/04 makafka Liked the opening credits music, but the movie was just plain flat. 2 stars
10/12/04 asina one of those movies made only to get good reviews. 2 stars
10/11/04 A. Forbes totally unique. genius, if you ever read jps. 5 stars
10/08/04 Paul G. An new new cult film destined for deconstruction thru caffinated anaylsis with enthusiasm 5 stars
10/05/04 Amyjo Marsh Unfunny, pompous, pretentious, full of itself, and way, way too long 2 stars
9/12/04 Gregory Really funny and smart 5 stars
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  01-Oct-2004 (R)
  DVD: 22-Feb-2005



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