A husband-and-wife team play detective, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, the happy duo helps others solve their existential issues, the kind that keep you up at night, wondering what it all means.
Determined to solve the coincidence of seeing the same conspicuous stranger three times in a day, Albert hires a pair of existentialist detectives, who insist on spying on his everyday life while sharing their views on life and the nature of the universe.Written by
Co-Writer, Producer, and Director David O. Russell consulted leading physicists to further understand quantum physical reality. See more »
In the Huckabees' headquarters, when Brad interrupts Albert's poem-reading, Tommy yells and points with his left hand in the wide shot. Cutting to a closer shot of Tommy and Albert, he is pointing with his right hand. See more »
[Blurry shot of tree]
[Albert's thoughts are voiced aloud to us, but not the audience on camera]
Mother-fucking, cocksucker, mother-fucking, shit-fucker, what am I doing?
[Albert walks out from behind tree, towards camera. As he gets closer to the camera the scene comes into focus]
What am I doing? I don't know what I'm doing. I'm doing the best that I can. I know that's all I can ask of myself. Is that good enough? Is my work doing any good? Is anybody paying attention? Is it ...
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my immediate reactions to one of the most off-beat, philosophical 'comedies' in some time
David O. Russell is a gifted filmmaker, whose Three Kings has scenes that get better with each viewing. Now here's an original film of his, I Heart Huckabees, and after walking slowly out of the theater, I was partly bemused, partly intrigued, and knew that if anything else it had an appeal in being like no other film I had seen this year. Firstly, he has his ensemble put together, and it's surprising how they seem to go along knowing exactly what is going on with the story even if the audience might not. Jason Schwartzman's Adam is a kind of high-strung, well-meaning, but torn peace-nick who wants to figure out a strange coincidence involving a bell-hop. The existential detectives can help, perhaps, played with zeal and insane wit by Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin. They, as I have figured out after thinking about it hard enough, are from one school of existentialism, who say that there is no need for people to feel in day-to-day life that they are alone. "Everything is connected," Hoffman's character says, and Russell illustrates this with surreal scenes involving multiple images of little squares and connectedness, as well as when Adam is plunged into a bag with only his thoughts in the dark.
He thinks he's finding security with this, and promise against fighting developers (i.e. Huckabbes, a mall chain) in tearing down some woods. When Mark Wahlberg's character Tommy enters the picture, things get interesting, as he finds the detectives aren't all they are cracked up to be. When he introduced him to an opposing (i.e. Sartre-type) French philosopher (Isabelle Huppert), the plot, or what can be made of it, thickens. His story is coincided with the funny and thoughtful take on a bull-sh*t artist, played by Jude Law, who wants to climb the corporate ladder with his girlfriend, played by Naomi Watts (the only performance that didn't work as well as some of the others). His is the right kind of side-note with Adam's storyline, as a direct counter to the values, and most of the cast (notably Law, Wahlberg, Huppert and Schwartzman) tend to bring out the points made with scenes that may be funnier than I think or maybe not funny at all.
Another commenter on this site referred to how Jean-Luc Godard might love this movie. To that I'm not sure- it does contain a lot of inspection via the plot into what it is that we tend do to with our lives, how our views might be contradictory, and how existentialism is more about realizing what it is you're doing than about 'free-will'. But would he find all of the underlying conventionality of the story unnerving? I don't doubt that I Heart Huckabees is a good film; I find it hard to see it as a great one as it really is an acquired taste. Two films came to mind as I left the theater, and even while I was viewing the film- Slacker and The Lady-killers (the Coen brothers' version). Both films have a kind of intense, unique take on the world, and along with that go the sense of humor. While Slacker is an existential take on a generation via one town, Lady-killers is a slapstick movie with an once-in-a-lifetime performance from Tom Hanks. I think the same problem I had with the Ladykillers was what I had with this film. Although I Heart Huckabees, as it is intended, gets laughs, it's not always from how Russell might want. As it is, like the two films I mentioned, a film he made as him being the audience, the humor is sometimes way over-the-top, and while smart in its un-real quality, isn't funny. Sometimes the subtle touches are even funnier, or when the little idiosyncrasies are revealed by Hoffman and Schwartzman.
Basically, if you don't like I Heart Huckabees, I don't think that's a bad thing. I can recommend it to anyone looking for a couple of hours into why things happen and who we are and so on, and then again I can't. It asks to be seen again sometime on a late night....
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