Commentary by Jason Schwartzman, Mark Wahlberg, and Naomi Watts
Anamorphic widescreen and full-screen formats
“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 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?
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 Bottom Line: