More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

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

Latest Reviews

Crazy Rich Asians by Peter Sobczynski

Meg, The by Jay Seaver

Island, The (2018) by Jay Seaver

Summer of '84 by Jay Seaver

BlacKkKlansman by Peter Sobczynski

Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days by Jay Seaver

Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds by Jay Seaver

Mission: Impossible - Fallout by Jay Seaver

Stripped to Kill 2: Live Girls by Jack Sommersby

Ready Player One by Rob Gonsalves

subscribe to this feed

I Heart Huckabees
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Jay Seaver

"Silly in a mainly clever way."
4 stars

You won't find Douglas Adams's name anywhere in the credits for I ♥ Huckabees, and I can't even make a convincing argument that Adams was any sort of influence on writer/director David O. Russell. Still, it doesn't seem to be a particularly difficult jump to get from Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency to the Existential Detectives played by Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman.

It's more than just one turn of phrase, though - indeed, where Dirk Gently is basically a private detective who takes an eliptical route in his investigations, Vivian and Bernard Jaffe are more like extraordinarily proactive psychiatrists. What strikes me as similar is how both I ♥ Huckabees and Adams's works encourage the audience to think about the metaphysics of Life, the Universe, and Everything by presenting those ideas under a layer of absurd whimsey. Of course, where Adams tended to bury his profundity like raisins inside a big pudding of silliness, Russell's comedy is like a bright, but thin, layer of paint over a philosophical core.

This, of course, makes Jason Schwartzman the perfect lead for this movie. Since Rushmore, he has made a career out of playing young intellectuals without the life experience to make any real use of the theory that they have internalized and passionately believe in. For Schwartzman's Albert Markovski, that would be environmentalism, poetry, and a belief that there are no coincidences. When he encounters the same African boy three times in rapid succession, and then finds the Jaffes' business card in the pocket of a borrowed jacket, he's sure that there's some sort of meaning.

The quest for that meaning will bring him into contact with some strange characters. He already knows Brad (Jude Law), a slick executive at the Huckabees corporation who is usurping Albert's environemtnal coalition, and Dawn (Naomi Watts), Brad's beautiful model girlfriend. The Jaffes themselves are rather odd, and they introduce him to his "other", petroleum-obsessed fireman Tommy Corn (Mark Wahlberg). Meanwhile, a former student of the Jaffes who rejected their belief in the interconnectedness of all things in favor of a belief in a meaningless, cruel universe (Isabelle Huppert) is trying to seduce Albert and Tommy to her way of thinking.

If the very idea of two groups of philosophers trying to prove the veracity of their theories by applying them to speciic individuals - or just philosophers "in the field" - doesn't strike you as humorously absurd, this movie probably isn't for you. I ♥ Huckabees makes great sport of being too extreme or literal as regards one's intellectual beliefs, but it never crosses the line to being anti-intellectual, or flatly saying that these people just need to use some common sense. Of course, that may be implied when Tommy chooses to go to a fire on his bicycle instead of the truck because the fire truck runs on gasoline and his anti-petroleum stance means riding it would be hypocrisy.

It's not afraid to be smart and throw its intellectual weight around, and I don't know how off-putting that may be to the audience. There's a scene where Hoffman is arguing that the Universe is half full rather than half empty because even though aotms and subatomic particles have cracks between them, there are smaller particles transmitting force and information across those gaps, and I found it clever. Some around me seemed to find it pretentious. There's a fine line between the two and everyone sees that line in a different place.

And if you find the movie's almost-lecturing pretentious, the multitude of funny jokes probably won't make up for it, nor will the semi-buried treasures of Naomi Watts's and Mark Wahlberg's performances (soon, I'm going to have to stop being surprised when Wahlberg is good in a movie). If you don't, though, you'll probably enjoy a movie that is frequently silly but almost never stupid.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 10/13/04 06:03:37
[printer] printer-friendly format  
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
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  01-Oct-2004 (R)
  DVD: 22-Feb-2005



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast