I Heart Huckabees (2004)


Echoes of Wes Anderson and Jean-Luc Godard and screwball dialogue on nihilism abound in a film about a man puzzled by coincidences in his life, the “existential investigators” he hires to solve them, and friends, acquaintances, and co-workers who each delve into their own philosophical inquiries. The cast that populates this chaotic, overwhelmingly energetic film is obviously talented. Jude Law shows off his screwball chops, Jason Schwarzman provides the pitch-perfect lead, and Dustin Hoffman successfully embodies the absurd humor of the movie, but it’s Mark Wahlberg who shows he must be reconsidered as an effective comedic actor.

The film never slows down; there doesn’t seem to be much of a plot while things are happening. In fact, what is I Heart Huckabees even about? What is being said about conservation, corporations, and existentialism here? Russell seems to have constructed an exercise in philosophical discussion that exists only for the purpose of existing. I’m not sure if the film cares to dig out answers to big questions as much as it wants to make us laugh at the insanity of those characters who care enough to invest their lives to finding the truth.

Just by the presence of repeated existential conversations, the film warrants plenty of thought and discussion. It’s also intriguing (albeit, less so) from a stylistic standpoint in the same way that director David O. Russell makes each of his films with energy and visual ambition. The film dazzles in its originality yet I question if it’s worth the time. The characters busily bounce around their world asking questions and searching for answers, and all their interactions lead to little reward for those watching.

Written on July 5, 2015

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