From the writer and director of Three Kings comes a quirky, "existential" comedy that fails to capitalize on its all-star cast. I Heart Huckabees has some laughs, but they are drowned out by a cluttered, weird story that never really engages the audience.
A part of the genre of quirky, love-it-or-hate-it films, I Heart Huckabees is one of the few of those films that I would not recommend to the curious moviegoer. Though the marketing campaign for the movie was excellent, the funniest parts are in the previews. The trailers introduced us to some funny dialogue, strange circumstances and its stellar cast, but the full-length production only drags out the same jokes. There are several sequences where I definitely was not loving Huckabees - the plot drags out at times.
It's hard to explain exactly what this movie is about, other than that it is about a young environmentalist named Albert (Jason Schwartzman) who is trying to save a marsh from being destroyed by a Wal-Mart-like company called Huckabees, but who is also trying to save himself from some sort of lack of understanding of the world around him. His quest for the truth leads him to two existential detectives (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin) who put him into a therapy of sorts. Their "investigation" draws in other members of the cast, namely a Huckabees executive (Jude Law), his girlfriend and spokesman for the company (Naomi Watts) and another existential patient named Tommy, played by Mark Wahlberg.
The cast is great, but something just doesn't click. I Heart Huckabees is funny at times, but at other times it drags on without sense or purpose. If told right, existentialism could be a pretty interesting topic, but as the characters continue to talk about it for two hours without adding anything to the argument, the topic becomes tired very quickly. Schwartzman's character is unfortunately the least interesting of the group, yet the most attention is given to him. Law's character is much more entertaining to watch, and the duo of Hoffman and Tomlin are funny, but not utilized nearly as much as they should have been. Wahlberg has his moments.
Undoubtedly, some people will love this movie, but the vast majority of moviegoers will feel that the jokes fall short of expectations. I Heart Huckabees is a disappointment, but, according to the movie, it doesn't matter - it's all the same, even if it's different. Yeah.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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