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