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  • One of the biggest influences for the ideas presented in David O. Russell's 'I Heart Huckabees' was 9/11. He is quoted as saying in Film Comment Magazine, 'For about two months after 9/11, people were asking really profound questions about reality and existence-and then it was back to business as usual.' Indeed this seems to be the case whenever bad things seem to happen in life as people search for the reasoning behind the events and for a meaning to their own existence. Disillusionment often takes place for many affected by tragedy, as has happened to the characters in 'I Heart Huckabees.' From an activist fighting urban sprawl to a firefighter blaming the worlds ills on petroleum hungry nations, 'I Heart Huckabees' presents profound questions about existence with a unique comic approach.

    After seeking the reasoning behind a coincidental meeting, Albert (Jason Schwartzman), an activist/poet, seeks the help of some existential detectives, Bernard and Vivian (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin). They agree to study his case by spying on his every day activity and getting into his psyche. In an attempt to help Albert seek answers to his profound questions, Bernard and Vivian join Albert with a disillusioned firefighter named Tommy (Mark Whalberg) who seeks answers to the same questions on life. However, Tommy has a strong bias that all the world's problems result from the exploitation of petroleum. During their investigation into Albert's life, Bernard and Vivian realize that Albert's problems often stem from his struggle to fight the Huckabees Corporation from building on the lands Albert tries in vain to protect- particularly with a corporate salesman named Brad (Jude Law). As Bernard and Vivian further investigate, they realize that Brad and his girlfriend Dawn (Naomi Watts), the sexy image behind Huckabees advertising, have a few of their own existential problems to deal with. Especially Dawn who is completely disillusioned by her own beautiful image, as well as Brad's phony persona. Two schools of thought come into play. One, Bernard and Vivian's viewpoint that everything is connected and the world is not a negative place, but chooses not to deal with its problems. On the other hand, Tommy believes in the viewpoints of a French author named Caterine Vauban (Isabell Huppert) who says that the world is simply a mess, pain and anger are present and the only way to deal with it is to just except it. So who is right and who is wrong? The film's message is that neither is truly wrong or right, but the two must meet somewhere in the middle. What's more, perceptions have an important role in this film. Life is often what you make it. A person can be a phony individual and simply jump on the bandwagon of what is popular to seek approval and acceptance. Or, they could ask themselves if they really believe in certain viewpoints and question the right and wrong that exists in our complex, modern world.

    At first glance, with the film's slapstick, yet witty intellectual dialogue combined with unique visuals, it would seem that this is the product of Charlie Kaufman. But Russell's ideas are undeniably his own and have been pondered upon in his mind for years. The director of the Gulf-War drama/comedy, 'Three Kings,' and 'Flirting with Disaster' has made one of 2004s best films. 'I Heart Huckabees' is filled with three-dimensional characters and crisp-sounding dialogue that will leave you chuckling hours after seeing the film. Most importantly, it has ideas that most Hollywood executives fear to take on because of our very conventional societal viewpoints. ****
  • I have to agree with the reviewer who said this film will appeal to a very narrow audience.

    If you are a philosophy major or just a major black-clad espresso drinker, you'll probably resent the movie for "dumbing down" existentialism. If you're a regular person looking for a regular comedy to enjoy, please, trust me, skip this film.

    But if you're philosophically curious, acquainted with Camus, and like a little vertigo with your comedy, run, do not walk, and pick up this film. For that narrow group, and by no means are they an elite, this is the ultimate feel-good film.
  • Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman - Rushmore) is an urban guerrilla. A freedom fighter against Urban Sprawl and Corporate-sponsored Over-Development. At least this is how he likes to think of himself. In reality he's a self-obsessed insecure neurotic, and his environmental action group 'Open Spaces' is having little success in the face of their nemesis, the Huckabees corporation. That is until Brad Stand (Jude Law) steps in. As the caring face of Huckabees he sets up a co-operative group with 'Open Spaces' and shows that corporate entities and environmental groups can work together for the good of the community.

    Again, that's how Brad likes to think of his work but he's not a happy man. His mental wellbeing is unravelling, his home life is not good, and his work is beginning to suffer. His wife is Dawn Campbell (Naomi Watts - Mulholland Drive), she is the gorgeous face, body and voice of the Huckabees corporation. That is until she discovers that life is meaningless, we are all simply atoms caught up in a never-ending cycle, and identity is an illusion.

    She discovers this through the work of Bernard (Dustin Hoffman) and Vivian (Lily Tomlin), a husband and wife existential detective agency. They are hired by Albert to investigate why he feels so empty in his life, and to answer his number one question - what is the meaning of life. They observe him 24 hours a day and investigate all other relationships in his life. This leads them to Dawn, who starts wearing dungarees and a babies bonnet after their "treatment".

    Meanwhile Tommy Corn (Mark Wahlberg - Boogie Nights) is a client of Bernard's and Vivian's agency. He is going through a crisis. An ex-pupil of Bernard and Vivian's, a Russian Nihilist Existentialist called Caterine Vauban (Isabelle Huppert) has sent him her book, on why Nihilism holds the answers he seeks. He comes to believe this is correct and Bernard and Vivian believe he needs the help of an "existential partner" and introduces him to Albert. He try's to convince Albert Nihilism is the way forward, but Albert falls in love with Caterine and finds out it isn't.

    Being billed as an "Existential Comedy" I've been meaning to see 'I Heart Huckabees since it was originally released about 6 months ago, but never got round to it. Totally kicking myself now cause it was absolutely superb. Awesome soundtrack, inventive and original cinematography, some amazing performances and most importantly a great story. Directed and co-written by David O. Russell (along with Jeff Baena) who last gave us 'Three Kings', the well-received anti-war comedy drama set in the first Iraq war. I personally didn't think 'Three Kings' lived up to the hype, an enjoyable film sure, but not particularly ground breaking or terribly thought provoking.

    'I Heart Huckabees' blows 'Three Kings' away, the dialogue has so many levels it's hard to peel them away, but as Bernard teaches "it's all connected". The soundtrack is from the always-awesome Jon Brion who has given us the great music to some of the best films of recent years such as 'Magnolia', 'Punch Drunk Love' and 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'. The performances are powerhouses, Law and Watts both standing out as two of the finest young actors in the world today. Watts steals the show thought, surpassing her turn in one of my all-time faves, 'Mulholland Drive'. The film's main theme is one of anti-corporatism, but it isn't so pervasive as to effect the overall upbeat feeling of enlightenment and acceptance the film immerses us in.

    The best part of the film for me was the inventive use of the visuals to perfectly illustrate scientific and philosophical ideas. It's pure eye candy, sections of the film peeling away, mixing with other areas of the screen to form new pictures, showing us how everything can be deconstructed. We are all the same. It's all just atoms, identity is an illusion, we are all connected.

    'I Heart Huckabees' is released on DVD in the UK today.
  • Derek2375 January 2005
    There is only one word I can use to describe this "existensial comedy" by David O. Russell: insane. Here is a comedy with no real rules. A sense of brilliant madness lurks within every scene. Emotions run wild, actions are poorly motivated, people have no idea just what the hell they are doing! This is to be said about certain characters played by Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Mark Wahlberg, and Naomi Watts. These are characters who are in deep need of answers to their existence, and who are playing with ideas that they are not quite ready to tackle. But then you have Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, and Isabelle Huppert just kind of watching by the sidelines as the more experienced characters. By the end of the movie I couldn't help but think of how many other clients of theirs went through similar conflicts. That's the ultimate punchline. What a delight I Heart Huckabees is!

    This is in no way at all your average comedy. Many philosophical theories are brought up throughout the film, but it's all done in a "fun" way. The film doesn't follow and preach any of the theories, only its characters do. I thought that was important because, well, that's what makes it so funny. It does not take itself seriously.

    The acting is very...interesting. You have the younger actors like Wahlberg and Schwartzman really, really trying hard in hilariously over-the-top performances. To the exact opposite of that, you have Hoffman and Tomlin who don't even really try that hard at all. They don't have to. They're pros- actor wise and character wise. This imbalance in mood just adds and adds to the overflowing madness of I Heart Huckabees.

    There is a lot of things wrong with the movie that seem to make it funnier and all the more enjoyable to watch. I had a smile on my face through the whole thing. I Heart Huckabees is indeed an acquired taste. People will love it, people will hate it, people will be totally indifferent to it, but I have no doubt that it will find its following.

    My rating: 8/10
  • Wow. I left the theater at a loss for words. What the heck?

    What I saw was one of the best movies this year. I don't even know where to begin in describing it. I laughed a lot at all the subtle humor and timing, and placement. The acting by the entire cast is spectacular.

    This movie is not for all and probably only for a very small group of people because the elitist snobs will bash it for simplifying and "hollywood-izing" the philosophy too much, and the average joe will complain that its too weird and boring to understand.

    The thing is with this movie, you will either get it or not. Simple as that. I definitely "got" it, and I'm grateful I did because it was an amazing trip.
  • It isn't often that a movie provokes thought as well as laughter, but "I Heart Huckabees" manages to hit both marks.

    This movie is about the search for answers to questions that most of the characters don't seem to know they're asking. And their guides along the way, deftly portrayed by Hoffman, Tomlin and Huppert stir the pot of confusion in this boiling mess of angst, deception and discontent. And it's funny! While the performances by Schwartzman, Law and Wahlberg (sounds like a law firm) were wonderful and engaging, the real star of this movie is the writing. It's very thoughtful without being heavy-handed. And the humor manages to take material that usually comes across as pretentious and makes it palatable for common-folk like myself.

    This is a great movie if you're in the mood to revive in your mind the ultimate questions "who are we?", "what are we?", "why are we?" At the age of 41 I'd pretty much put those questions to bed, but it was fun to wake that sleeping part of myself and ponder while having a lot of laughs along the way.

    See this movie.
  • This film was amazing. I'm still not sure if I've completely figured it out, but I thoroughly enjoy the attempt. The entire trip was something fully unexpected from the barrage of F-bombs that makes up the first five minutes to the alluded to (but nonetheless unexpected) cameo of Shania Twain. It's near impossible to explain what the film is actually about in this space, so you'll have to settle for this: The always hilarious Lily Tomlin and the wonderful Dustin Hoffman play a couple of "existential detectives" hired by Jason Schwartzman (in perhaps his best role) to investigate a series of "coincidences" involved a very tall African man. Schwartzman is the head of an environmentalist group trying to make a deal with the Huckabees department store to save a marsh (Jude Law plays the Huckabees exec and Naomi Watts his wife--a Huckabees commercial model). Mark Wahlberg shows one of his best performances thus far as a fireman who has also hired the "existential duo" for help with the Big Questions. Jon Brion provides yet another truly original score (not as eccentric and beautiful as Eternal Sunshine, but definitely more involved than Punch Drunk Love). In short, this film is a masterpiece for everyone involved.
  • Giving credence to the phrase "everything old is new again." I HEART HUCKABEES is a pleasing throwback to the 1960's. Not unlike Mike Myers's pop-edelic Austin Powers sagas, HUCKABEES is as much a taste of nostalgia as it is a pleasurable respite from the blood-soaked Quentin Tarantino legacy of the 1990's (which fittingly enough is little more than a dirtied up version of the tough-guy B-movies of the 1950's).

    At any rate, HUCKABEES is a clear descendant of films like MORGAN!, LORD LOVE A DUCK, YOU'RE A BIG BOY NOW, HAROLD AND MAUDE, not to mention THE GRADUATE and a variety of other films that feature disillusioned young men trying to find meaning to life and purpose in existence in a world of absurdity. Not surprisingly, I suppose, once again America is in a troubled war, political protest is almost tiresomely routine and society is defined by extreme political, social and ethical differences. At a time when we are bombarded from an untold number of sources about how we should talk, think and act (left-wing politically correct conformity strangely mirroring the right-wing cold war conformity of the 1950's), HUCKABEES turns to a radically old-fashioned concept: Go figure it out for yourself.

    In a press release for HUCKABEES, director David O. Russell writes "Philosophy interests me only insofar as it is practical and makes people feel more alive and open -- not closed." As such HUCKABEES doesn't seem so much aimed at presenting Russell's personal philosophy so much as musing over some of the possibilities. The film revolves around Albert Markovski (played by Jason Schwartzman, as sort of Russell's surrogate), a not-particularly-successful environmentalist. Albert has a rivalry with/ friendship to /hatred of /crush on Brad Strand (Jude Law), a corporate cog who works for Huckabees, a Wal-Mart-like chain wanting to place a new store on a plot of landscape that Albert is doing a rather poor job of protecting. For different reasons, they both turn to "existential detectives" Bernard and Vivian Jaffe, (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin), who presumably investigate/stalk their clients to figure out what makes them tick. Basically, Bernard and Vivian are a conscience for hire. Hot on Bernard and Vivian's heels is Caterine Vauban (Isabell Huppert), an ex-pupil turned rival, who is bent on spreading the word that life is meaningless and valueless.

    In battling for Albert's psyche, if not his soul, the two factions offer conflicting views of the world. Bernard argues that life is a blanket, one interconnecting fabric of existence where all things are related. Caterine offers a world of random chaos where values are arbitrary. Being versus nothingness. Responsibility versus indifference. Hope versus despair. Light versus dark. Good versus evil.

    As philosophy, it is probably pretty simplistic, but philosophy isn't the point so much as the absurdity of life which makes it so difficult to keep one's bearings. If Albert (and Russell) never quite cut through the chaos and ultimately only find peace through compromise, that is probably the best anyone can really hope for. But like any movie (or mystery or therapy) the ending is possibly not necessarily as important as the journey getting there. Which is a good thing for HUCKABEES because the film gradually peters out, but it is an unpredictable ride, shared with oddball characters, while it lasts.

    And it is something of a sentimental journey. I doubt it is entirely a coincidence that Schartzman bears more than a passing resemblance to a youthful Hoffman (in a Beatles' haircut, no less), whose performance in THE GRADUATE will forever grant him iconic status as a symbol of the 1960's. HUCKABEES echoes many of the themes from that 1968 landmark film: the questioning of prevailing values, battling consumerism, searching for identity and, last but not least, seduction by an older woman.

    Though not entirely successful, there is something just so wonderfully refreshing about I HEART HUCKABEES. It is a film that tries to be about ideas, without being self-consciously pretentious, like Woody Allen. It flirts with the sweetness of a Spielberg film, but in the humanistic style of a Robert Altman, but without his souring streak of cynicism. But most of all it stays miles away from the cold-blooded nihilism of Scorsese, Tarantino and the bunch. This is a film without villains, only comrades who, to one degree or another, are searching for peace of mind.
  • It is a breath of fresh air to find a movie so original. Some may be turned off by the movie and possibly find it pretentious but it's not. It pokes fun of existentialism a bit while at the same time making you think about it realistically. The movie didn't make me laugh out loud as much as other comedies but I had a smile on my face the entire time watching it. If you don't take it too seriously and get the humor you will really enjoy it. I had a smile on my face the entire time. The comedic timing by all of the principal cast is right on target. I definitely recommend it. Not only is it funny, but it does make you think a little while not being pretentious. Russell hit it dead on with this one.
  • Complaints about the writing and acting in this movie remind me of when, as an usher at a large church, I overheard the comments of the parishioners after the service. The minister had delivered a plea that we search our souls, but all these people could find to talk about was what she was wearing, or the style of her hair. If you walk into this movie thinking of yourself as a student in a film studies class (especially Hollywood films), you are going to find plenty to complain about.

    But the real purpose of this movie is not to snag an Oscar, or even entertain you. And despite its attempts at 'explaining' life, it is not to convince you of any particular philosophy, either. It is, rather, to inveigle you to question your own motives for your behavior in life, and thus your basic presumptions about what you are doing here in the first place. Not a small task; the human psyche constructs many layers of defense, and it is in penetrating these defenses that psychologists spend most of their efforts. The humor in this movie helps break through some of the defenses.

    Perhaps you believe you have no use for a psychologist. Brad Stand (Jude Law) didn't either, except to rationalize in his own mind his duplicitous self-serving behavior. But once 'existential detectives' Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin are on the case, there's no getting rid of them until all the dark corners have been exposed. That's both the bad news and the good news. Bad news because all his ploys are exploded. Good news, because now he can start to live a real life.

    After all the trailing credits have rolled, what remains on the screen is the single line in the movie that sums it all up: 'How am I not myself?' A question asked throughout the ages, it is not meant to have an answer but, like a good koan, to create an infinitely deep inbox in your mind that you fill as you go through your days. e.e. cummings said it isn't easy to be nobody but yourself, but it's worth it. If you are more concerned about living a genuine life and less about cinematic perfection, this movie is, too.
  • I suppose the highest reach any artist can have is to create something so carefully placed and shaped that it grows into unknown, unseen corners of the word and absorbs things beyond the artist's reach. Such things — I would call this "real" art — must be a dream for many.

    Film makes this harder in a way, because many of the conventions now demand that characters, if not situations, be "real" and that story arcs take predictable form.

    So usually what screenwriters play with is the causal dynamics of the world. I only know well one other of Russell's films "Flirting," which seemed as though it was skirting too close to the edges of romantic comedy. That's the territory of Wes Anderson and not capable of doing more than amusing.

    This is different, this. Sure, it has large character strokes that are comic, or seem so. But what it does is redefine the world in a way that clarifies and makes for that spongelike quality of real art.

    The setup now is that most of the world is wrapped as a character, a large department store chain called Huckabees. The situation deals with folks who support and/or resist it in minor ways. The pretty "voice," the advertisements, the poems, a benefit show, these "folds" in the movie (each a small, similar movie) are played with in very clever ways.

    Hoffman's character goes further to isolate the main character from the movie by putting him in a bad so he can get to his inner movie. Another character played by Markie Mark (amazingly well) has had his reality scrambled by 9-11. The two, later joined by the Huckabee's "voice," settle into a search for the form of movie for their lives.

    Hoffman and Tomlin represent one cinematic philosophy. Isabelle Huppert — a sort of icon for new new wave European cinema — represents that notion of cinematic wrapping and competes with the "existential detectives," Hoffman and Tomlin for control over our three, four with Laws' character.

    They represent that uniquely American notion of having a character in the story, usually a detective literally, that stands between the viewer and the story, in both, unraveling both. They "watch." The story itself isn't strong enough to sustain this fabricated notion, and resorts by the end more and more on simple comedy and strokes from romantic movies. It ends happily, it seems, which is a dangerous flaw.

    This does well in its first half in giving us something that qualifies as worthwhile. I does, and I recommend it to you. Its more than mere quirky charm and you really might find your mind, even your soul being competed for.

    The last part, all that business about Laws' character, was necessitated so that there would be a story, and actual story so we could justify continuing to watch. But the cost is too high because it negates the tone of the first part. Would Charlie Kaufmann have been clever enough to write his way out of the problem? You can spend the second half of this wondering how, and the first half getting yourself into this delicious dilemma.

    Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
  • I often watch movies over several days. My first "session" with Huckabees was stimulating. I was fully prepared to embrace it as another "Coen-esque" film (the good Coens of "Lewbowski" not the bad Coens of "Intolerable Cruelty"), however by the end I was sorely disappointed. I applaud the attempts at creativity (the effort to introduce "philosophy" in a humorous way, especially setting up an enmity between Hollywood therapy-Buddhism-lite versus sexy French nihilism), but in the end I felt I was listening to a lecture by a very young person and I was afraid to leave the auditorium because her parents were there and I had previously said their child was a genius. This is a film by a young person who hasn't had much experience in life or relationships (but earnestly wants to), who wants to read philosophy (but doesn't have the time) and who admires edgy filmmakers (and thinks it would be easy to "make a film like that.") Some have called it a sad mess and I think I can go along with that. Flashes of brilliance are present but not sustained. Intruguingly contrarian political/ philosophical are flirted with then abandoned to "this is what they want to hear" positions (eg. like "let's all hate Wallmart, we can get behind that right, gang?") These writers and filmmakers should take a sabbatical and actually do something besides talk to each other in bars and wrangle funding from befuddled elders. It's like art school, only done with huge budgets and in public. Some things should be allowed to mature before they're shown the cruel light of day.
  • I have seen probably 1000-1200 films in my life and I haven't hated a film more than this. Sure there are more inept films out there, "The Rollerblade Seven", for example, is genuinely the worst film ever made. But at least The Rollerblade Seven didn't think it was smarter than me. I Heart Huckabees is made by morons who think they're geniuses for morons who believe them. Watching this film is the cinematic equivalent to having someone come over to your house and poke you in the eye whilst reading a dreadful poem and then scoffing at you for not 'getting it'. If I ever see David O. Russell I swear to God I will make him reimburse me for inflicting this dreadful movie on me.

    In closing: I no longer fear death, for I have experienced so much worse.
  • The whole, "If you didn't like it you didn't get it" thing is so condescending. Especially for this movie which lacks any hint of subtly. To not get this movie is to not watch it…or even the first few scenes.

    What was this film lacking? Talented actors, check Cinematography, check It must have been the directing, the writing or both.

    Contrary to my expectations, this film struck me as complete bologna. From the opening scenes to the end, which I saw only out of a regrettable sense of obligation, I didn't believe a line, a block, a shot, or anything else. I felt insulted by its lack of subtlety and obvious, inartistic and sophomoric presentation of its theme. This is a horrible film. It makes a mockery of profound questions and important issues. This movie would be rad if you were ripped on a heavy hallucinogen (Oh man, dude, its like…the meaning of life n stuff ya know?). Otherwise, rent something else.

    Watching this movie is like watching two, stupid, 12 year-old rich kids make a feeble attempt at having a conversation about the hardships of poverty. Unfortunately, some executive producer provided David O. Russell with the funds necessary to create a film about something which is, apparently, completely outside of his grasp.

    What I am about to say is a stretch, a last desperate attempt to say something positive about a true terd. It may be possible… Maybe this film is a mockery of its subject, the cheesy "new-age" counseling movement. Maybe its trying to say that affluent Americans seek easy, self-centered, superficial, irrational and convenient answers to difficult questions. If this were the case, a potentially poignant statement was couched in an such blasé form? Nah, its just a bad film.
  • It's always a risk watching off-beat movies, so I usually stop here to get a heads-up on the rating.

    How this movie averaged over 4 is mysterious to me. Perhaps there was some secret meaning I missed, but believe me, I worked hard at this movie trying to figure out what, if anything, was happening.

    Clearly, nothing was happening. It was like a bad dream, a series of images and words that make no sense once you regain consciousness.

    I won't go into the plot, since there was none, but suffice it to say that if you awaken halfway through the movie, like I did, calm yourself and let the whirr of the DVD player put you back to sleep.

    You won't have missed a thing.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a perfect example of what is wrong with comedies in recent years. Bad casting, a lousy script - hence nothing funny at all.

    "I Heart Huckabees". Even the title is annoying, and one of the dumbest there is.

    First of all, Jason Schwartzman. Don't be fooled by his name, he is YET ANOTHER barely talented Coppola to be unleashed onto the movie world. He is the son of the ultra-talented and absolutely gorgeous Talia Shire, who also appears in this crap-fest. I was DELIGHTED to see her new surgically-enhanced face: now she is more beautiful than ever, what with her inability to smile or show any emotion. However, she was like that before the face-lifts, so nothing has changed, in a way... Bardot, Winslet, Liz Taylor, move over. Talia is the stuff of beauty legends! Nepotism works!

    Many in the Coppola clan have a habit of getting rid of the "Coppola" in their names, once they break into movies, i.e. they're embarrassed about the nepotism involved in giving them ALL (literally, all of them; every Coppola has to be in movies, they are all soooooo talented) a shot on the big screen. Jason Coppola is so ugly, so untalented, so uncharismatic, so UNFUNNY, that you'll be wondering just how far gone this nepotism problem is. The answer: very far. To actually give this latest Coppola offspring a leading role in a movie, and be it one as bad as this, is a travesty, and just another nail in the Hollywood coffin. What the hell to they organize those auditions for?? The roles are all given out to various friends and relatives, anyway. Additionally, Jason C., unlike his tall and goofy relative Nicholas Coppola Cage, is practically a dwarf - which is probably why they hired Hoffman to be in this, too, so that on the film set Jason can feel cozier due to having at least one person who doesn't tower over him.

    Secondly, Wahlberg. How any director or casting agent can think that this mediocre actor can actually tackle comedy, is beyond me. Admittedly he tries very hard, but his best isn't nearly good enough. Though, the lousy script certainly doesn't help him much.

    The rest of the cast are okay or good actors, but in such poorly conceived roles that they were boring me to tears - and it was even embarrassing to watch some of them: especially Hoffman and Tomlin kiss each other on the mouth. Yuck. Not funny, just disgusting. Law and Watts also made morons of themselves by agreeing to do this dumb movie.

    The director/writer (no doubt another nepotist creature) tried to cram as many ideas as he could into a 100-minute movie, and the results are disastrous. He tried to combine screw-ball comedy with witty indie-style philosophical semantics-type humour. The result is a frantic mess. The movie is quick, there is constantly something happening, but nothing funny. The direction is sloppy, the story disjointed, and there is no build-up to the miserable finale. The fact that this director/writer saw it necessary to throw in a whole bunch of liberal propaganda bull***t as well, only hurts the movie further. His script preaches - one-sided of course, with tremendous bias as usual - about the environment, about pollution, about Sudan being the way it is because America supports dictators, bla bla bla. Just a bunch of dull nonsense that was obviously very close to this director's heart and tiny brain.

    It's bad enough that Shania Twain's name keeps getting mentioned, but the movie even had to show her in flesh. It was vomit time...

    Anyone who finds themselves impressed by the verbal goings-on in this sad little comedy is probably a moron who thinks that all of that stuff is so new and fresh.

    If you want to read my Hollywood Nepotism List, with over 400 photos/comments, contact me by e-mail. Or you can go to and check out my "TV & Cinema: 150 Worst Cases Of Nepotism" list.

    (Sick and tired of Euro-trash "classics", i.e. bad, overrated dramas? E-mail me if you want to read my totally altered subtitles of Ingmar Bergman's "Autumn Sonata", "Cries & Whispers", or "Passion Of Anne", but also the non-Bergman "Der Untergang".)
  • bongo_x13 December 2007
    Just plain dumb. It's like stoned teenagers making a film about philosophy. I suspect that's close to the truth. It seems like there were a lot of drugs (and immaturity) involved, and that thing where people who are really high think that their every rambling thought is brilliant.

    The closest thing I can think of is the 3rd and 4th Batman movies. I can't say if I hated it, there was just nothing there. It was kind of annoying though.

    I wanted to turn it off after 30 minutes but I stuck with it. If you're 30 minutes into this one and don't like it, turn it off. It seem to run out of steam as it goes along. I know that doesn't seem possible, but it's true.

    I suspect it's much more popular with those under 30. There seems to be a lot of "Oh my god, I SO get it and you SO don't". I didn't see anything to "get". It was one of the least subtle movies I've ever seen, and didn't really have anything to say.

    "If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; But if you really make them think, they'll hate you."

    Don Marquis

    US humorist (1878 - 1937)
  • Don't get me wrong, the cast was great, to good for this plot. At first i thought that I was bored because the ending will be breath taking, and it must compensate. Wrong! While I was watching this film I couldn't help thinking what the hell is happening? Everybody said this film is extraordinary, but no one warned me that it's extraordinary BAD. I struggled to get the point of this film, but, unfortunately I must say it's a total waste of time.

    At the end I burst into tears, and not because of the grand finale, but because I realized that two hours of my life went by without doing nothing that would have worth it. And my disappointment is bigger due to the fact that everybody encouraged me to watch this film. Such a shame because the cast was great.
  • Rushmore's Jason Schwartzman plays Albert Markovski a environmentalist/poet who goes to a married couple of existentialist (well really let's call a duck,a duck) Buddhist detectives (Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman), in order to figure out why he always runs into this one lanky African. Instead of helping him, they invaded every facet of his life. Even going as far to introduce him to Tommy, his 'Other' (Marky Mark), who in turn shows him a contradicting philosophy. This is the type of pretentious pseudo-intellectual drivel that liberals and the college teacher mentals (wait that's redundant) get their rocks off to. I'm sure this is shown in various classes on campus. It's the type of film where if you dislike the film, or think the underlying message is a bunch of bull, you'll be greeted with replies like "you just don't get it", "obviously you are too much an idiot to grasp the film", etc.... It's another way to make them feel superior to others (see also "American Beauty", "Kinsey", "Life as a House", etcetera. I only found a few scenes to be the slightest bit humorous, and none of it "thought provoking". Lily Tomlin hasn't done anything good since 1984's "All of Me", I say this because Director David Russell seems to be a fellow flash in the pan when he did "Three Kings" The best thing about this film was the African guy saying "Shaquille O'Neal" and Marky Mark in a few scenes.

    My Grade: D-
  • bpharis1 March 2005
    This movie is made by poseurs for poseurs. Yeah, I mean you, and no, you're not an intellectual. You learned all you're ever going to learn on your knees in front of some tenured hack.

    Did you look up the names of philosophers you vaguely remember from your freshman year? Put them in your review and pat yourself on the back.

    Do you like to use words like existentialism but don't actually know what they mean? Don't worry, just pretend.

    Mocked those dumb American/action/formulaic/Hollywood movies (and audiences)? Check. You're different and independent!

    Was it funny on a level only you can understand? Check.

    Congratulations. You've just joined the herd.
  • It's hard to criticize a movie like "I Heart Huckabees". Obviously the makers were going for something different, something that's not necessarily for a mainstream audience and will probably get misunderstood by a lot of people. Something in the tradition of "Rushmore" and "Ghost World". Cool, I'm fine with that. The problem is, although "I Heart Huckabees" comes up with lots of weird, but intriguing dialog, it completely forgets to add an interesting storyline. A built-up, anything to keep the viewer interested. It's not enough to have a bunch of characters endlessly throwing thoughts at each other. The movie gets pretty exhausting after about 20 minutes and you find yourself peeking at your watch every 10 minutes. On the plus side, the cast is great. Johnathan Schwartzmann, Isabelle Huppert, Dustin Hoffmann, Jude Law, Naomi Watts and Lily Tomlin, all in one movie is really a treat. The direction is solid with some interesting visual effects thrown in and, as I stated before, the whole script is really striving to be original. But for all it's wackiness and supposed depth there's very little to take away from the movie, but a few bewildered laughs. In the end, "I Heart Huckabees" biggest flaw is that it fails at what should be a movie's premium goal: keeping the viewer interested.
  • * Jason Schwartzman, Isabelle Huppert, Dustin Hoffman, Jude Law, Mark Wahleberg, Naomi Watts, Lily Tomlin. Directed by David O. Russell

    An off beat and most of the times too smart for it's own good screenplay done by director Russell and Jeff Baena who seem to have half a brain when put together. The two take witty dialogue with a good cast but the combination goes awry and leads to an annoying movie that really gets down right stupid. I am a fan of Schwartzman I love his premiere in "Rusmore" and even "Shop Girl" but his character is just trying way to hard to be smart and creative and everything else he's not and before the 30 minute mark I started falling asleep.

    Albert (Schwartzman) an environmental activist who tries to understand a series of coincidences with an African American doorman. While trying to do so he hires a team of bumbling detectives (seemingly useless Hoffman and irritating Huppert) who spy on him through his daily routine of work and so on. Hoffman who discusses the matter of chance and life through a blanket (!) makes him all the more boring and even less of an actor while going over the script.

    Despite a few slapstick fits and arguments involving Wahlberg, "Huckabees" is nothing more than a over exuberant piece of trash only worthy of an art house goon who'd be willing to suck this up. I for one was left bored, disgusted and most of all disappointed at the great list of actors and actresses who perform at a mediocre caliber if that! One of 2004's absolute worst movies!
  • 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.
  • This film is about Albert, an environmentalist with existential issues, who seeks out Bernard and Vivian, a pair of existential detectives to help solve his problem. Along the way we meet Brad, a rising sales executive, Tommy, a fireman who hates petroleum use, and Caterine, a nihilist of some sort.

    There isn't much you can say about the plot because the film is fundamentally absurd (not absurdist) in nature, so it is pointless to mention things like logic and coherence. Despite its surface appearance of tackling deep philosophical subjects, there is nothing in it that can be described as sophisticated - problem are solved and situations resolved in manners as easy as what you might find in a children's TV show. The film can best be described as a kind of homily on environmentalism, and one that preaches about how things are inter-connected and some made-up cosmic truth.

    I found it hard to see who the intended target audience is for this film. The philosophy in it is trite and muddled, but which will bamboozle those who don't know any and alienate those who aren't interested. Any discussion on politics or economy is trivial or misinformed in the extreme - for example, in the dinner scene, as a riposte to family who mentioned saving the Sudanese, Tommy said that "How did Sudan happened, could it be related to some stupid dictatorships we supported for some reasons?", a comment that is as astounding in its ignorance of the subject matter as its blatant pandering to a dim partisan crowd.

    And it isn't even funny. It wants to be zany like the Monty Python, but instead it falls flat on its face. In Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, when it chooses to target, say, the Church, it does it with great style and a sense of fun. But in Huckabees, all you get is just a series of turgid lectures on the evils of consumerism, corporate greed and whatnot.

    I said that it was hard to see who its target audience could be, but that's before I read some of the gushing comments here in IMDb. It's amazing what some people can get out of it, and see how they threw in a reference or two to people like Derrida (for those who suffer pangs of anxiety or sense of intellectual inferiority for not knowing who he is, don't worry, he's just a French fraudster you'd be better off not knowing about). It's clear that this film is for the smug poseurs with pretensions to intellectualism. Funnily enough, I watched this film just after I saw The Squid And The Whale (a film worth watching) which has characters in it who are exactly like the target audience of this film, one of them is even named Bernard. Coincidence, huh?
  • Just saw Huckabees. American comedy can be very funny. Usually it's great. However, I'm British, and although we are noted for our sense of humour, (we have to be, just look at our weather and our deputy Prime Minister) but somehow this film just does not do it for me. I am reluctant to express my true feelings concerning this, (IMDB protocol and all that) but let me suggest that existentialism in this form has a long long way to go before I could even begin to be entertained by this piece of fragile, pretentious self indulgence. The search in existentialism, can, in part be a search for a point in ,or to, existence. A point to this film? No chance.
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