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I Heart Huckabees

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: I Heart Huckabees

Starring: Jude Law, Dustin Hoffman
Director: David O. Russell
Rated: R
RunTime: 106 Minutes
Release Date: October 2004
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Jason Schwartzman, Isabelle Huppert, Lily Tomlin, Mark Wahlberg, Naomi Watts, Angela Grillo, Ger Duany, Darlene Hunt, Kevin Dunn, Benny Hernandez, Richard Appel

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

So what's an existentialist comedy? Basically, it's a silly, irreverent, chaotic metaphysical farce about what it means to be alive.

Environmental activist Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzmann) has been experiencing a remarkable number of coincidences involving a tall, mysterious Sudanese doorman - and he wonders why. So he hires a pair of nutty, babbling Existential Detectives (Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin) to help him examine his life, his conflict with an ambitious executive (Jude Law) who is climbing the corporate ladder at Huckabees superstores, and his love relationship with ditzy Huckabees spokesmodel (Naomi Watts). But in direct contrast to the Detectives' ethereal "the center is everywhere" philosophy, there's their renegade disciple/competitor, saucy French nihilist author (Isabelle Huppert), whose business card claims that life is "cruelty, manipulation and meaninglessness." Then the zany, angst-ridden, do-gooder Albert hooks up with a rebel firefighter (Mark Wahlberg) who is so concerned about the world's post-9/11 petroleum consumption that he rides a bicycle, rather than a fossil fuel-guzzling fire truck, to put out blazes.

Directed by David O. Russell ("Spanking the Monkey," "Flirting With Disaster," "Three Kings") who co-wrote it with Jeff Baena, it's a manic, amusing, if garbled, absurdist meditation on universal truths - which seem to encompass poetry, Zen philosophy, Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre and Shania Twain. The ensemble cast and composer Jon Brion seem to have a romp. So is everything connected or is everything separate? You decide. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "I Heart Huckabees" is a surreal, shallow, satiric 7 about "your perception of reality."

Copyright 2004 Susan Granger

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