6.6/10
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388 user 186 critic

I Heart Huckabees (2004)

R | | Comedy | 22 October 2004 (USA)
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A husband-and-wife team play detective, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, the happy duo helps others solve their existential issues, the kind that keep you up at night, wondering what it all means.

Director:

David O. Russell
3 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Schwartzman ... Albert Markovski
Isabelle Huppert ... Caterine Vauban
Dustin Hoffman ... Bernard
Lily Tomlin ... Vivian
Jude Law ... Brad Stand
Mark Wahlberg ... Tommy Corn
Naomi Watts ... Dawn Campbell
Angela Grillo Angela Grillo ... Angela Franco
Ger Duany ... Mr. Stephen Nimieri
Darlene Hunt ... Darlene
Kevin Dunn ... Marty
Ben Hernandez Bray ... Davy (as Benny Hernandez)
Richard Appel ... Josh
Benjamin Nurick ... Harrison
Jake Muxworthy ... Tim
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Storyline

Determined to solve the coincidence of seeing the same conspicuous stranger three times in a day, Albert hires a pair of existentialist detectives, who insist on spying on his everyday life while sharing their views on life and the nature of the universe. Written by Benjamin Conway

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An existential comedy

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and a sex scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | USA

Language:

English | French | Spanish

Release Date:

22 October 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Love Huckabee's See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$292,177, 3 October 2004

Gross USA:

$12,785,432

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$20,094,909
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Albert (Jason Schwartzman) was loosely based by co-Writer, Producer, and Director David O. Russell on himself, and the themes of the film were inspired by Russell's mentor, Robert Thurman, Uma's father. In fact, Bernard (Dustin Hoffman) was modelled directly after Thurman. See more »

Goofs

When Catherine is in Albert's parent's apartment, she's seen holding Albert's childhood journal. On the page that is open, it appears that the first words of the first sentence are "I went...". Yet, when Catherine asks Albert's mother to read the entry, she reads "I came home..." first. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Albert Markovski: [Blurry shot of tree]
[Albert's thoughts are voiced aloud to us, but not the audience on camera]
Albert Markovski: Mother-fucking, cocksucker, mother-fucking, shit-fucker, what am I doing?
[Albert walks out from behind tree, towards camera. As he gets closer to the camera the scene comes into focus]
Albert Markovski: What am I doing? I don't know what I'm doing. I'm doing the best that I can. I know that's all I can ask of myself. Is that good enough? Is my work doing any good? Is anybody paying attention? Is it ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

"How am I not myself?" See more »

Connections

Referenced in Conan: The Murdering Murderer of Murdertown (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

You Learn True to Yourself
Written by Jon Brion
Score material based on this and other songs
See more »

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User Reviews

Bigger than Itself
28 July 2006 | by tedgSee all my reviews

I suppose the highest reach any artist can have is to create something so carefully placed and shaped that it grows into unknown, unseen corners of the word and absorbs things beyond the artist's reach. Such things — I would call this "real" art — must be a dream for many.

Film makes this harder in a way, because many of the conventions now demand that characters, if not situations, be "real" and that story arcs take predictable form.

So usually what screenwriters play with is the causal dynamics of the world. I only know well one other of Russell's films "Flirting," which seemed as though it was skirting too close to the edges of romantic comedy. That's the territory of Wes Anderson and not capable of doing more than amusing.

This is different, this. Sure, it has large character strokes that are comic, or seem so. But what it does is redefine the world in a way that clarifies and makes for that spongelike quality of real art.

The setup now is that most of the world is wrapped as a character, a large department store chain called Huckabees. The situation deals with folks who support and/or resist it in minor ways. The pretty "voice," the advertisements, the poems, a benefit show, these "folds" in the movie (each a small, similar movie) are played with in very clever ways.

Hoffman's character goes further to isolate the main character from the movie by putting him in a bad so he can get to his inner movie. Another character played by Markie Mark (amazingly well) has had his reality scrambled by 9-11. The two, later joined by the Huckabee's "voice," settle into a search for the form of movie for their lives.

Hoffman and Tomlin represent one cinematic philosophy. Isabelle Huppert — a sort of icon for new new wave European cinema — represents that notion of cinematic wrapping and competes with the "existential detectives," Hoffman and Tomlin for control over our three, four with Laws' character.

They represent that uniquely American notion of having a character in the story, usually a detective literally, that stands between the viewer and the story, in both, unraveling both. They "watch." The story itself isn't strong enough to sustain this fabricated notion, and resorts by the end more and more on simple comedy and strokes from romantic movies. It ends happily, it seems, which is a dangerous flaw.

This does well in its first half in giving us something that qualifies as worthwhile. I does, and I recommend it to you. Its more than mere quirky charm and you really might find your mind, even your soul being competed for.

The last part, all that business about Laws' character, was necessitated so that there would be a story, and actual story so we could justify continuing to watch. But the cost is too high because it negates the tone of the first part. Would Charlie Kaufmann have been clever enough to write his way out of the problem? You can spend the second half of this wondering how, and the first half getting yourself into this delicious dilemma.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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