I Heart Huckabees


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Rating: R

Jason Schwartzman as Albert Markovski
Isabelle Huppert as Caterine Vauban
Dustin Hoffman as Bernard
Lily Tomlin as Vivian
Jude Law as Brad Stand
Mark Wahlberg as Tommy Corn
Naomi Watts as Dawn Campbell
Angela Grillo as Angela Franco
Ger Duany as Mr. Nimieri
Darlene Hunt as Darlene
Kevin Dunn as Marty
Benny Hernandez as Davy
Richard Appel as Josh
Benjamin Nurick as Harrison
Jake Muxworthy as Tim

Special Features:
Commentary by director David O. Russell

Commentary by Jason Schwartzman, Mark Wahlberg, and Naomi Watts

Anamorphic widescreen and full-screen formats

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Language
Spanish Subtitles

The following is from the DVD cover:

“An exuberant offbeat comedy in which Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin play detectives hired by kindhearted local poet and activist Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman) to investigate the meaning of three coincidences that could hold the key to life. The investigation soon involves other clients such as passionate, vulnerable fireman Tom Corn (Mark Wahlberg), cunning sales exec Brad Stand (Jude Law) and hot spokesmodel with an identity crisis Dawn Campbell (Naomi Watts). The hilarious case is further complicated when the detectives’ seductive French nemesis Catherine Vauban (Isabelle Huppert) lures Albert and Tom into her way of seeing things. Outstanding performances and outrageous comedy make this smart, elating, poignant film fro director David O. Russell “a snort-out-loud-funny master class of controlled chaos.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times”

I Heart Huckabees is rated R for language and a sex scene.

The Movie:
I have to say that I was initially eager to watch I Heart Huckabees. I was in the mood for an offbeat comedy and I am a big fan of Hoffman, Tomlin, Law, Watts, and Schwartzman. What could possibly go wrong? Well, everything. This was one of the worst films that I’ve ever seen. I almost turned it off over and over again, but I decided to stick it out for the sake of the review. I kept watching after a trippy dream sequence with Schwartzman hacking away at images. I kept watching as Hoffman and Wahlberg pointed at odd pictures drifting across the screen. I even kept watching after I saw Jude Law in drag breastfeeding Schwartzman. Unfortunately I lost two hours of my life which I’ll never get back, but maybe there’s still hope for you.

The biggest problem with I Heart Huckabees is that it is way too surreal, offbeat, and philosophical for my tastes. Besides the bizarre imagery already mentioned, the plot is very hard to follow. You’re literally thrown into the middle of things and then expected to keep up. Tomlin and Hoffman play “existential detectives” that try to help Schwartzman. I kept trying to figure out if they were really his conscience, representations of philosophy, or what, but I was never able to get it. I’m a fairly well read person, I have a masters in engineering, and I’ve enjoyed a lot of offbeat comedies, but I simply never “got” what they were trying to do with this movie. The ultimate message was never clear to me. I guess a PhD in philosophy and a large dose of drugs would have helped, but I didn’t have either.

The other problem is that the characters are extremely philosophical, neurotic, and very self-absorbed. There’s nobody to root for. All of the characters drone on and on about life, the meaning of life, the evils of petroleum, their personal problems, and other philosophical stuff. I found myself either lost by their discussion or so bored by it that I didn’t even care. I repeatedly wanted to slap them and say, “Snap out of it!”

That being said, the acting in the film is pretty good. Jude Law stands out as a slimy executive that thinks he has everything figured out. Using an American accent, he eventually degenerates from a confident yuppie into a crying, broken man. Mark Wahlberg is also a passionate oddball that rails against petroleum, the status quo, and just about anything else you can imagine. The other performances are decent, but those are the standouts. Shania Twain also makes an odd cameo at the end of the film after being mocked for the previous hour and a half.

And despite the incessant psychobabble, there were a couple of fun lines in the film. Here’s one of my favorites:

Vivian Jaffe: Have you ever transcended space and time?
Albert Markovski: Uh, time, not space… No, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

And that pretty much sums up the film itself. I don’t know what it’s talking about.

Who should see I Heart Huckabees? Hippies, philosophy majors, and fans of Jude Law that will watch him in anything he does. Everyone else should probably pass on it.

The Extras:
There are actually two versions of this DVD. I only reviewed the bare bones version. The two-disc special edition has deleted scenes, outtakes, a music video, and more. On this version you’ll find two commentaries – one by director David O. Russell and one by Russell, Jason Schwartzman, Mark Wahlberg, and Naomi Watts. The one with Russell solo is quite dry. He whispers through the whole film and doesn’t give a whole lot of enlightenment on the plot. He does discuss the actors, trivia about filming, and more. The second commentary is a little more interesting with the actors joining in, but not much more. It’s just really hard to enjoy the commentaries when I disliked the movie so much.

The Bottom Line:
I Heart Huckabees is way too offbeat, surreal, and philosophical to be enjoyable, despite the strong cast.