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I Heart Huckabees

Genre: Comedy
Rated: R
Directed by: DAVID O. RUSSELL
Produced by: David O. Russell, Gregory Goodman, Scott Rudin (A Kanzeon/Scott Rudin/N1European Film Produktions Production)
Released by: Fox Searchlight in association with QWERTY Films

In Short: We "heart" a good existential comedy, and this all-star effort could be an irreverent-yet-intriguing exploration of life’s true meaning. Too bad, it's be a bit too self-conscious.

Funny, As in Funny Queer
Being Chases Nothingness for Laughs
By Cherie Saunders

A series of freak coincidences haunts Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman), a passionate environmentalist devoted to preserving dwindling open spaces. Believing these occurrences are more than just flukes, Albert hires a pair of Existential Detectives, Bernard and Vivian Jaffe (Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin), to examine every nook and cranny of his life to uncover his true purpose.

As the married metaphysicians dig deeper into his being, they uncover a festering conflict with Brad Stand (Jude Law), a hotshot executive at the Huckabees retail super-store chain, who wants to sponsor Albert’s Open Spaces Coalition—strictly for PR purposes. Believing Brad is at the root of Albert’s inner turmoil, the detectives focus their investigation on the corporate climber, only to end up being hired by Brad as well to seek out his true purpose. But wait, it gets even more convoluted.

The detectives pair Albert with another one of their clients— tough firefighter and hardcore soul-searcher Tommy (Mark Wahlberg). Soon, they become fed up with their treatment and seek advice from the Jaffes’ arch nemesis, Caterine Vauban (Isabelle Huppert), a French philosopher who goes against everything the Jaffes believe in. Meanwhile, Huckabees spokesmodel Dawn (Naomi Watts) is literally squeezed into the story as Brad’s girlfriend who has a mental breakdown of her own. If you think this synopsis is long-winded, the film itself is even more exhausting.

For those who happen to be on the same offbeat brainwave as writer/director David O. Russell (Three Kings, Flirting With Disaster, Spanking the Monkey), I Heart Huckabees can be an irreverent-yet-intriguing exploration of life’s true meaning. For others, the painfully existential material may be a bit too self-conscious to draw laughs. One thing’s for sure—the film requires its audience to dig actively through layers of symbols and metaphors to find an ultimate point—which ironically, is the same cerebral challenge facing each of the film’s characters.

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