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Overall Rating
3.8

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 Laura Kyle

"Not too briliant, but a lot of fun."
4 stars

I HEART HUCKABEES is an intentionally confused film, and whether or not this will bug the typical moviegoer, I have no idea. As for me, I dug it.

Environmentalist Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman) begins to question if his latest mission to save a wood and marsh is in vain. When he runs into a stranger three times in a row, he takes the odd coincidence as a sign, turning to existential detectives Bernard and Vivian (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin), who are also married. They will guide Albert through his daily life and essentially spy on him all the time, for even the slightest bit of information can give them the key to the mystery of his life. He's an open-minded fellow, but when Brad Stand (Jude Law), a corporate executive at the Huckabees Corporation, who hijacked his plan to save the marsh, asks for some existential help too, well -- this is when Huckabees starts to get really weird. And when a competing detective (Isabelle Huppert) threatens to dismantle Bernard and Vivian's teachings, irony becomes a central element.

Writer director David O. Russell and co-writer Jeff Banea have created a movie about reality that is far from grounded in it... which is kind of the point. Perhaps when the average law-abiding citizen starts to take questions as to the meaning and purpose of life seriously, and then seeks to live in the revelation of nothingness or connectedness - they're only possible conclusions, the very reality they discover can make them appear a bit loony. A little paradoxical, you could say.

Huckabees sparks all of those philosophical debates that could go on for hours, but in the most creative and humorous way I could ever imagine. It is so random and scatterbrained, one has to immediately abandon all expectations for a clear plot with no loose ends. Huckabees has no adherence to the conventional boundaries of cinema, it simply has an idea and wants to explore it in as many ways as possible.

The characters make sense in the same way cartoons do; none of them will be too relatable, and be assured you will have a significant amount of aesthetic distance from them. Schwartzman is very good as the tree hugger no one will listen too, but just when you start to get to know him, he is sucked back into Huckabee's surrealism. Jude Law, with the exception of his occasional hint at an English accent, is superb as a smug businessman who really isn't all that smug. And Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin are nothing short of priceless - seeing the two tip-toe run through the sprinklers is one of the funniest things you'll ever have the pleasure to watch. The best performance, though, goes to Mark Wahlberg, playing a sensitive but short fused fireman who is obsessed with the dangerous toxicity of petroleum, which is perpetuated abroad by ignorant SUV driving Americans. He won't even ride in the gasoline run fire truck.

I'd dare to say I Heart Huckabees is a borderline slapstick comedy, a physical one. While the dialogue is often hilarious (don't take a bathroom break during the dinner table scene), there isn't a great deal of appeal to the higher intellect, and satire is hardly the aim. Yet, at the same time, no toilet humor or silly sex jokes (well, there's one or two) take their place. Huckabees is a clever, refreshing does of outrageous comedy, and that aspect alone is worth your eight bucks.

What makes Huckabees special is it truly is trying to say something, and it doesn't make that ambition a secret. However, while David O. Russell aspires to take the audience on the ultimate journey of self-realization, where he really succeeds is in making us laugh.

I HEART HUCKABEES is riddled with ambiguity, but perhaps the absurdness it endures, and the mixed messages it sends, hold more truth to the universe and human existence than any simple mythology or clear cut story.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10446&reviewer=369
originally posted: 11/08/04 05:40:57
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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

12/29/14 PAUL SHORTT ENTERTAINING, THOUGHT-PROVOKING COMEDY WITH A GOOD CAST 3 stars
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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  01-Oct-2004 (R)
  DVD: 22-Feb-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  16-Dec-2004




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