HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
JFK
Kirlian Witness, The
Kid for Two Farthings, A
The Freshman
Hear My Song
Wild Wild West
Cure
Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend
Locke the Superman
Psycho
Magic Flute, The
Top Secret
Ghost Punting
Hitman's Bodyguard, The
Touch, The
Akko's Secret
Backfire
Loving Vincent
Adventures of the Wilderness Family, The
Plot of Fear
Desperate Chase, The
Baskin
Time and Tide
X - Night of Vengeance
Bunny Drop
Acts of Vengeance
Asura: The City of Madness
In This Corner of the World
Dirty Pair: Project Eden
Pyewacket
   
 
Newest Articles
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
Force the Issue: Star Wars' Tricky Middle Prequels and Sequels
Rediscovered: The Avengers - Tunnel of Fear on DVD
Sword Play: An Actor's Revenge vs Your Average Zatoichi Movie
Super Sleuths: The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes on DVD
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
   
 
  I Heart Huckabees How Am I Not Myself?Buy this film here.
Year: 2004
Director: David O. Russell
Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Jude Law, Mark Wahlberg, Naomi Watts, Isabelle Huppert, Angela Grillo, Ger Duany, Tippi Hedren
Genre: Comedy, Weirdo
Rating:  5 (from 4 votes)
Review: Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman) is a young environmental campaigner, troubled by a strange series of coincidences and profound feelings of uncertainty. He goes to see Bernard and Vivian Jaffe (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin), a pair of Existential Detectives who agree to trail him in order to solve his anxieties. Meanwhile, Albert has made a dubious deal with Brad Stand (Jude Law), a sales-exec from the Huckabees department store eager to provide ecological sponsorship.

David O. Russell's fourth film is closest in tone to his second movie, the screwball comedy Flirting with Disaster, but has far loftier ambitions; marketed as an 'existential comedy', it combines slapstick and surreal farce with a series of philosophical arguments about loneliness and the meaning of existence. The end result proves to be just as messy and audience-dividing as you’d expect; never quite as clever or funny as it wants to be, the film is helped immeasurably by a top-notch, up-for-anything cast. Hoffman and especially Tomlin are gloriously undignified as the two new-age PIs, following Albert everywhere to uncover clues to his disaffected state-of-mind, while a dead-pan Isabelle Huppert plays Caterine Vauban, their arch-rival who attempts to lure Albert over to her way of thinking. Jude Law's super-slick sales guy is a shallow image-obsessed narcissist who also hires the Jaffes, ostensively to cure his own emotional turmoil but in reality as part of his plan to have Albert sacked from his own campaign team. Naomi Watts cuts a vacant-yet-sexy figure as Dawn, Brad's girlfriend and the face (and body) of Huckabees' ad campaign, who also finds herself transformed by the Jaffe's intervention. And best of all is Mark Wahlberg, giving a career-best performance as Tommy Corn, a half-crazed firefighter obsessed with the evils of petrol consumption whom the Jaffes pair up with Albert to provide mutual support.

Russell and Jeff Baena's script is very much in Charlie Kaufman territory (though they'd probably deny it), but it lacks Kaufman's deft touch with such mind-bending material. Part of the problem is the character of Albert – which is not to say that Schwartzman doesn't put in a good performance – but he's just as mad as everyone else, making it hard to care about his woes. For all the bizarre content of, say, Being John Malkovich or Adaptation, Kaufman’s misanthropic lead characters were believable and sympathetic; nothing about Albert is particularly likable. In fact, he's such a wingebag that you can't really blame Brad for trying to oust him from the environmental coalition. Only Wahlberg cuts an empathetic figure, and the moment he realises that Albert has cast him aside for an affair with Caterine is surprisingly moving and beautifully acted.

The philosophy of I Heart Huckabees basically boils down to two central concepts. Bernard Jaffe believes that everything and everyone is connected, and understanding this is the key to 'deconstructing' oneself and achieving a state of absolute satisfaction. Caterine Vauban on the other hand is your garden-variety chaos-theorist who sees life as a series of random, unrelated events and believes that no action has any bearing on any other. All of which is all very well, and it’s great that a Hollywood film is even bothering to address such ideas, but the movie is very confused about where it wants to take them. Far too often the film descends into shouting matches between characters, and the only scene to deliver on a 'serious' level is the one in which an outraged Albert and Tommy end up at dinner with a family of hypocritical fuel-guzzling all-American Christian capitalists.

Nevertheless, there is much to enjoy. There's usually something to look at or laugh about, whether it’s Vivian nonchalantly stalking Albert through the Huckabees store, Albert and Tommy finding blissful enlightenment by hitting each other in the face with large rubber balls, or Brad’s obsession with Shania Twain's upcoming appearance at the company's environmental gala (the country-pop queen even has a brief cameo). The film has real visual style, and the colours of the clothing and sets are deliberately muted to provide contrast to some inventive moments, such as Albert visualising hoovering up Brad, Brad 'breastfeeding' Albert, or Bernard's face floating apart on screen. Frustrating and entertaining by turns, I Heart Huckabees may well offer more on subsequent viewings. Just try not to think about it too hard.
Reviewer: Daniel Auty

 

This review has been viewed 8689 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Mark Scampion
  Frank Michaels
   

 

Last Updated: