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- Story -
This movie is particularly strange and peculiar and so I found it hard to follow the story but from what I could follow, the movie is about a pair of whats called existential detectives (like philosophers) who give their opinions about life and the great beyond to a man called Albert whos left wanting to find out the significance after what seems like a coincidence, when he realises that he's seen the same stranger three times in one day.
- Thoughts/Opinions/Extra Info. -
This is, as I say, a very strange movie lol and I do like to watch some quirky movies once in a while but this is probably one of the most random/quirky ones ive seen. I found it quite hard to keep track of what was going on, so its definitely not a movie to watch if your looking for some light hearted movie! its very philosophical but very quirky too and it has some witty comedic moments.
I wasn't sure quite what to think of it because the it seemed so disjointed, it was hard to follow, the characters were interesting though and there were some funny moments if you catch the right dialogue I think. Some of the visuals were good, there are scenes where your shown what the detectives are describing, where you see the face broken up into lots of different squares floating around (in that way its quite a trippy sort of a movie!). Alot of the movie centers around the department store called Huckabees, where Albert works and some of the people who work there and a project involving open spaces and Shania Twain(!), whereby Albert is fighting for a new branch of Huckabees to not be allowed to open, to save the land. There are two main characters (apart from the two detectives), Albert and Tommy, both of whom are on their own 'voyage of discovery' so to speak.
The movie features a decent cast, with Dustin Hoffman playing one of the existential detectives, as well as Jude Law playing the rival marketing executive Brad Stand, Mark Wahlberg as Tommy and Naomi Watts who plays Brads partner, Dawn. You get the feeling that the cast are quite keen on the movie through the performances they give and again the CGI adds depth to the movie but I couldn't help but feel somewhat lost and confused throughout it all the same, I almost felt as if I'd need to be taking something to get the full effect of it or to think it made perfect sense! I guess it would be wrong of me to say its a useless, pointless movie because of that, I am someone who can be easily distracted or otherwise find it difficult to follow movies at times, that much is true and I knew this was quite a quirky, cult type movie, so I shouldn't have been surprised and I don't think I was as such, just bare it in mind. Also worth knowing is that there is a fair amount of strong language used in the movie, from the very start as I believe the first scene features the main character swearing quite heavily and repeatedly to himself, which will have had a bearing on the films 15 rating. That and there is a sex scene present, which is somewhat but not totally graphic, if you know what I mean. I certainly wouldn't recommend this movie as a completely serious introduction to philosophy, thats for sure!
This is the sort of movie that will leave you wondering if you missed out on something critical that would have explained more to you, your left confused and curious and it certainly isn't an all out comedy, laughter fest by any means, yet there are some solid performances from Hoffman and Schwartzman (Jason Schwartzman plays the main character Albert) and its certainly not a movie that suffers from being too predictable, if anything its perhaps too unpredictable.
This may be a movie where, if its right for you and you feel particularly interested in the themes it presents, then having watched it the first time you may be compelled to watch it again later and look out for the smaller details that you missed the first time around, I suppose it could be one of 'those' kind of movies, although I can't really see me doing that myself.
Overall I'd say that this is a very quirky and peculiar movie that is somewhat complicated and confusing and makes you wonder, with some good performances, its ok for what it is but it was a bit too much for me personally and afterwards I was left wondering 'what was that all about?'. Judge for yourself whether this is your cup of tea... to be honest this is about all I could think to say about this particular movie, I found it harder to think how to review this one but I hope my review helps all the same and thanks, of course, for any and all r/r/c's. This review is also posted by me on Ciao! UK under the same username.
This was a movie that attracted me to go and see it from the get-go.
Interesting cast, strange-looking cinematography, a sense of humor... I though it had everything I wanted from a movie.
But, first of all, let's address the important issues.
What exactly ARE Huckabees, do you think?
Cartoon bees from Huckleberry Hound? Erm, how many people have even heard of Huckleberry Hound, I wonder anyway, nope. Thats not what Huckabees are.
Well, OK, Ive seen the movie I should be able to tell you.
Huckababes is a firm, They produce adverts, featuring a model.
One thing you should know the title of the film is NOT "I love huckabees" Its "I Heart Huckabees" and, of course the heart should be a heart symbol, rather than the spelled-out word.
Its been described as a 'bizarre anti-corporate comic thriller', and as an existential comedy. Yes, it is probably all of those things, and more and probably, in the end, its so many things, that its, well, too many things. Yes, its all too much.
If I described it as like Being John Malkovich or Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind, or The Royal Tanenbaums but with far worse quality film so off the wall thats theres really not much point my telling you what the story might be because its the style of the movie that matters most.
Theres a good cast Lily Tomlin, Dustin Hoffman, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Naomi Campbell, Mark Wahlberg, Isabelle Huppert.
Theres also a cameo from Tippi Hedren, famous for her roles in Alfred Hitchcock movies, and Alberts mother is played by Talia Shire, who is most famous for being Sylvester Stallones wife in the Rocky films.
So it doesnt quite seem right to describe it as low-budget, and even though it looks like it is low budget there are some fairly special special effects that cant have come cheap.
Central to the movie is Schwartzman, who plays Albert a poetry-loving environmentalist.
Then theres corporate representative, Jude Law a plays that kind of slimy role quite well.
Tomlin and Hoffman play two existential detectives around which much of the movies humour revolves.
Really its hard to get emotionally involved with any of the characters, and they dont even interact with one another very much in a real sense.
And its not as funny as its intended to be.
Its either really bad or really good, and the cast is either pretending theyre on drugs, or really on drugs, or really enjoying being in the movie none of which means that we as an audience are going to enjoy seeing the movie.
But then again if its subject is existentialism and personal breakdown, well... what can you expect?
This is a review for the DVD of "I Heart Huckabees".
Okay Its an acquired taste. My best friend hates it and another friend got 30 minutes in and found the existential angstifying a bit too taxing for a Friday night. But if you click with it grief, its genius. No one can accuse Three Kings writer/director David O Russell of not reaching. A star-packed ensemble laffer questioning the nature of existence? Beats White Chicks any day. From Spanking The Monkey through Flirting With Disaster and, less obviously, Three Kings, Russell is fascinated by dysfunctional/surrogate families and finding meaning and moral backbone.
Jason Schwartzman is the directors substitute here an environmental activist who hires Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlins existential tecs to investigate a coincidence and finds life (whatever that is) unravelling. Everyone is outstanding: from Naomi Wattss dim model-cum-Amish bag lady to Jude Laws smug suit fraying at the seams. Shot with muted beauty by Peter Deming, it brims with delirious invention, too Schwartzman suckling at Jude Laws pendulous breasts, reality fracturing into floating cubes. But what gives Huckabees its heart is Mark Wahlbergs raw, hilarious and tender turn as Tommy the petroleum-obsessed firefighter. Fuelled by the filmmakers passionate opinions on Americas oil-driven warmongering and earthed by the stars working-class ethos, its a performance to file alongside Brad Pitts in Fight Club and Billy Bob Thorntons in The Man Who Wasnt There: too good for an Oscar.
DVD Extras: What you dont know cant hurt you. And the DVD extras are VERY good. Its just that the two-disc Region One special edition boasts 50 minutes of deleted scenes instead of 17 and when the US offcuts include Shania Twain giving the finger, its the difference between very good and must-have. Still, the excellent Making Of here does include Hoffman unveiling his latex breasts and opining on arguing with a director: When theyve written the m*th*rf*ck*r, you say yes. When they havent written the m*th*rf*ck*r challenge, challenge, challenge Hes on top form, coming off as much lighter and fun-loving than his Methody rep implies. But with Russell around, any madness appears ordinary. There he is in four-minute featurette Miscellaneous Things People Did - wearing a TOGA. There he is, chowing down on Hoffmans jubblies. There he is, inviting crewmembers to cop off with Law: Are there any women who have a fantasy of sleeping with Jude while he has breasts? Russells superb music video for Jon Brians Knock Yourself Out is complemented by a 30-minute infomercial for Jaffe and Jaffes detectives, with real-life philosophy ace Dr Robert Father Of Uma Thurman, and Huckabees store commercials that off the oddly erotic sight of Watts dressed as Santa.
The director is surprisingly subdued on his interesting solo commentary, while Wahlberg, Schwartzman and Watts (via phone from the King Kong set) join him for the second track. Best anecdote, though, is surely Schwartzman watching his sex scene with Isabelle Huppert and recalling how she visited his mum, Talia Shire, when he was a baby and rocked me back and forth in her arms. And 22 years later Russell chips in: You were rocking her back and forth in your arms!
I Heart Huckabees is possibly the oddest, craziest most offbeat film that you are ever likely to see. It is advertised as an 'Existentialist Comedy'; whatever that is supposed to mean! A comedy it certainly is, the script is just packed with superb lines, wonderfully weird characters and decidedly offbeat situations. There are so many wonderful quotes I would love to pepper this review with but to do so could only ruin them for anyone who sees the film. Just take my word for it the script sparkles with one-liners!
*Existential = Of, relating to or dealing with existence*
The basic plot of Huckabees is about Albert (Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore, Spin) the head of the Open Spaces Coalition, an organisation that attempts to save open spaces, to stop them being built on. He has bumped into the same tall black man on three separate occasions and, for some reason, wants to know why this coincidence has occurred and what it means in his life.
He discovers a card for 'Jaffe and Jaffe, existentialist detectives' that promises 'Crisis Investigation and Resolution' and heads off to see them. Having negotiated his way through the maze of corridors to the Jaffe's office he meets and then employs the two of them (Lily Tomlin & Dustin Hoffman) and their incredibly strange techniques to investigate his life and the coincidence.
Meanwhile Brad (Jude Law - Alfie, Sky Captain), a slimy corporate climber at the Huckabees corporation (A multi branch, big department store along the lines of John Lewis/Debenhams), has his own plans for the Open Spaces Coalition. He is working in tandem with Albert so that both organisations get what they want, or is he?
Also involved in the proceedings are Dawn (Naomi Watts - 21 Grams, Mulholland Drive) as the spokesmodel for Huckabees and Brads girl, Tommyh (Mark Wahlberg - Three Kings, Boogie Nights) a fire fighter who is going through a crisis over the use of petroleum in the world and with the Jaffe's procedures and finally the Jaffe's 'enemy' and opposition, Caterine Vauban (Isabelle Huppert)
Vauban's card reads 'Cruelty, Manipulation and Meaninglessness' and while the Jaffes believe everything and everyone are connected in some way and that whatever you do has an effect somewhere she believes that nothing effects anything and that there are no connections. You can do whatever you want with no consequences.
The story, very basically, follows how all these characters interact with each other and how they are affected by their involvement with the existential detectives.
The director/writer David O Russell (Three Kings, Spanking The Monkey, Flirting With Disaster) has certainly packed a lot into this, and I would guess that a lot if it is close to his heart. Huckabees contains conflicting theories on existentialism (I guess, it was over my head!), statements on the environment, corporate greed and the ever-growing consumer society and even about the banality of everyday life and how it can grind you down being someone you're not because you have to be to fit in (something I certainly don't agree with!)
But as much as there are all these serious themes running throughout the Huckabees the focus is on the screwball comedy. Comedy is rampant throughout from the seriously funny Jaffes through to Tommy and Albert meeting the tall black guys family. From the transformation of Dawn to Tommy continually going on about petroleum.
Huckabees is extremely funny, you may not get all the philosophical stuff floating around, and sometimes by the use of special effects it is literally floating around, but it doesn't matter. This doesn't really effect the enjoyment of the film. There is enough there to not have to worry too much about all the deeper stuff.
The cast of top stars are all on the top of the game here as well. Jason Schwartzman plays the odd, superior loner once again, Jude Law is fantastic as Brad, Naomi Watts once again shows how versatile she can be but the star is Mark Wahlberg. I've never been impressed by him in the slightest but here he is superb as Tommy. He plays him with a perfect balance between manic protestor and little boy lost. I'll be interested in seeing what he does next, will he revert to Hollywood mainstream and revert to blandness or will he stretch himself once again?
You also have to visit the websites for the film. They have cleverly set up three sites to do with the organisations involved. There is one for the Jaffes, one for Huckabees and one for Open Spaces all three of which are worth a chuckle or two.
www.jaffeandjaffe.com (with a great questionnaire!)
The boring stuff!
Running Time: 106 minutes
Director: David O Russell
Jason Schwartzman - Albert Markovski
Jude Law - Brad Stand
Naomi Watts - Dawn Campbell
Mark Wahlberg - Tommy Corn
Lily Tomlin - Vivian Jaffe
Dustin Hoffman - Bernard Jaffe
Isabelle Huppert - Caterine Vauban
David O. Russell, the director of dark incest comedy SPANKING THE MONKEY, slapstick ensemble FLIRTING WITH DISASTER, and Gulf War adventure THE THREE KINGS; established himself as a boldly original filmmaker. With his fourth film, I HEART HUCKABEES, Russell continues to defy easy definition, mixing physical comedy, existential philosophy, corporate satire, and quixotic quest. Jason Schwartzman, proving that he is capable of more than simply reviving his iconic RUSHMORE character, plays Albert, an environmental activist prone to bad poetry and self-doubt. During his campaign to stop Huckabees, a suburban superstore, from destroying marshland, Albert's group is taken over by one of the store's vapidly charming salesmen, a pitch-perfect Jude Law. Utterly distraught and questioning the meaning of life, Albert seeks the help of a bizarre husband-and-wife team of 'existential detectives'. By spying on Albert's daily life, they seek to help him answer that most elemental of human questions, 'Why am I here?