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
In March 2007, two videos appeared on the Internet showing on-set arguments between David O. Russell and Lily Tomlin. In one video, during filming of the office scene, Tomlin was annoyed at his direction, and Russell snapped, calling Tomlin several foul names and knocked over parts of the set. Dustin Hoffman can be seen walking away, hoping not to get involved. In the other video, while filming a scene in a car, Tomlin screams obscenities at Russell and gives him the middle finger. She also screams at Hoffman and Naomi Watts when they ask her to continue the scene. The car scene is not in the film. In an interview with the New York Times, Tomlin said "Adults have fights and go through stuff. I know some people are more dignified in the world, that if you transgress against that kind of professionalism, that it's some kind of great sin, but I don't see it that way." See more »
Towards the end when Albert tells the man in a white suit to treat his bike like a car before rushing in the building, the bike is first facing opposite directions in the two shots of it. 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 ...
[...] See more »
Risky, inventive & not totally successful film -enjoyable even if it made very little sense to me
A series of coincidences bring environmental campaigner Albert Markovski to the existential detective agency of Bernard and Vivian, who he contracts to delve into his life. Looking at his work situation they find him in contest with Huckabees' corporate marketing man Brad Stand, who has hijacked Albert's Open Spaces campaign to get free publicity for the store. Meanwhile Bernard and Vivian's other client Tommy Corn, is struggling to stick to their ideas and is swayed by the teachings of Caterine Vauban. With everyone having their lives broken down and examined, the investigation continues.
I wasn't sure what to make of this film before I saw it and I'll be honest and say I have just as little idea when I left it. The plot is all over the place and will totally frustrate those who attempt to find something in the narrative. The ending comes and I was none the wiser and would have struggled to really talk about the meaning in the film even right after it ended. Of course to me this wasn't that important because I think the film wasn't out to be a deep spiritual affair that would touch your soul in a deep way. I say this because the film seemed to mock the characters at the same time as allowing them to be interesting and involving. It is a strange effect and I don't think I'm doing it justice but it worked for me.
For many viewers the plot will be annoying because it is more about the people rather than a set story; however for many others (me included) it will work as a wonderfully witty little story that is enjoyable to watch enjoyable to the point that I was able to forgive it so much. The comic tone is so well delivered and the script is so consistently original and clever that it is hard not to like it. I am finding it hard to put into words but then maybe that is part of the appeal it is impossible to pigeon hole and many will find pleasure if the sheer force of its originality. The character focus here really works because the characters are very well written a bit over the top perhaps but, having worked in both the corporate and charitable side of environmental groups, I recognised a lot of the people in the film and liked the way the script both mocked them and liked them too.
The cast really do well with the material and it must have been a certain leap of faith to entrust such a cult script to become a good film. Schwartzman is well cast and he really suits the weird comic tone of the film. Law is better because he seems to have a character that I found easier to identify with. Wahlberg is also pretty good and I liked the force of conviction he had behind his words. Tomlin and Hoffman are both kooky rather than characters but they made it work they may have been the heart of the film but it was wise to make the other characters the focus. Watts is really good (I shudder to think what would have happened if the Brittany rumours were true) and there are host of good little cameos from all sorts of people.
Overall this is a very strange film and it is not one I could pretend to know all about or understand. The plot is messy and really needs you to be in the mood for it but to the right viewer it can be a wonderfully fun character piece. The direction is great, with clever, imaginative touches and a score that is obvious but does suit the quirky tone of the film. An acquired taste perhaps but one that really appealed to me and one I really enjoyed as I watched it, even if I was left a little bewildered by the whole thing.
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