HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
Bushido Blade, The
Jiu Jitsu
Blind
Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie
Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?
   
 
Newest Articles
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
   
 
  I Heart Huckabees How Am I Not Myself?
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, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
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 9925 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 star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: