DVD Review: I Heart Huckabees

I Heart Huckabees is the story of Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman), a disillusioned environmentalist who starts to question whether his efforts to save the earth are really worth it.

Albert enlists existentialist detectives Vivian and Bernard Jaffe (Lily Tomlin, Dustin Hoffman) to help him out. The two follow Albert everywhere he goes, hoping to fit the pieces together and find Albert’s purpose in life.

One source of Albert’s frustration lies in his recent collaboration with the Huckabees corporation to preserve some marshland: Albert’s leadership in the campaign is being usurped by arrogant Huckabees marketer Brad Stand (Jude Law).

Meanwhile, Tommy Corn (Mark Wahlberg), who has also hired the detectives, is reading the works of acclaimed nihilist Caterine Vauban (Isabelle Huppert), who threatens to undo all the progress the Jaffes have made on Tommy and Albert.

Writer/director David O. Russell (Three Kings) will probably be pleased with himself if viewers find Huckabees just a bit confusing and weird.Russell will probably be even more pleased with himself if viewers find it brilliant and absolutely hilarious, as I did.

The humor is comparable to that of such movies as Adaptation, The Royal Tenenbaums and maybe even Napoleon Dynamite, in which unorthodox directing depicts weird characters in bizarre situations, and the viewer is left wondering what is going on.

All the characters in Huckabees are well-written and well-played. Even though the characters are goofy and over-the-top, their depth and complexity make them surprisingly realistic and empathetic.

Though funny, original and thought-provoking, Huckabees suffers from a few flaws.

Albert and Tommy do confront Christianity in their search, but Christians are portrayed, in true Hollywood fashion, as ignorant and hypocritical.Also, in a disappointing ending (spoiler alert), Albert and Tommy decide that the true philosophy is one that combines existentialism and nihilism in a way that I am not sure even makes sense.

Even though the movie drops the ball when it comes to the truth, it does raise those important deep questions. And it raises them in a way that is oh-so entertaining.

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