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Movie Review: I (Don’t) Heart Huckabees

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What is it with people who brand a movie as brilliant and intellectual due to the mere fact that it is incoherent and pretentious enough to have most moviegoers scratching their heads at supposed philosophical meanings?

Case in point: I ♥ Huckabees.

I had a free movie pass to view the movie last weekend. In short and without verbal pomp, it sucked. It was stale, tired and gimmicky. Although the casting was great (Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Mark Wahlberg), the script was trite, unfunny and boring beyond belief. Sorry David Russell, but you’re trying too hard to be quirky and offbeat.

There were a few genuinely funny moments, mostly coming from Wahlberg. The former Marky Mark, was the best thing about this movie. He was cast as a paranoid post-9/11 fireman obsessed with the wasteful use of petroleum. But his moments were not enough to hold this soulless shell of a movie together.

Furthermore, I cared nothing for the characters, especially the main one, Albert a cloying poetry environmentalist played by Jason Schwartzman. He was so annoying I wanted to kick him, or at least give’ him a heaping helping of successive pimp slaps. In the one scene that was interesting–when Albert’s mother is confronted for her insensitivity to the death of his cat when he was young, there was a moment when I thought, “oh this might get interesting.” You see the mother blew him off to hang out with a female friend in the kitchen when he needs attention upon learning about his deceased feline. I thought they might have been lovers or something and were gettin’ on and little Albert had interrupted her love in the afternoon session. Then the whole family would’ve found out years later that his mother had been having a lesbo affair. But no, that didn’t happen. I sighed and slumped deeper into my seat wanting to throw popcorn at all the hipsters laughing so hard at the Seinfeld-type humor I hate.

Thank goodness I saw the movie for free. I would’ve been mighty pissed if I had shelled out coins for it.

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About Cheryl Coward

  • http://www.temptationwaits.com visualsimplicity

    Hey, I enjoy Seinfeld (I say that in present tense because there’s still syndicated reruns), and Huckabees was not Seinfeld humor. However, I must agree with you that Mark Wahlberg’s character was the most entertaining of the bunch. And the rest weren’t all that likable, especially the other paranormal investigator, what was up with her?

    Young Girl: Jesus is never mad at us if we live with him in our hearts!
    Mark Wahlberg: I hate to break it to you, but He is – He most definitely is.

  • The Theory

    I haven’t seen the movie… but the previews looked boring as hell. I won’t make the mistake of spending money on it.

  • Eric Olsen

    Cheryl, you conveyed the grimness of your experience vividly and well – thanks and welcome!

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    well, i’ve seen the trailer and thought it looked kinda interesting.

    maybe i’m just up for incoherent and pretentious stuff.

  • The Theory

    Mark… you are the biggest pretentious bastard on this site.

    …of course, i jest.

    …or do i?!

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    ooooh! i’ve never been called a pretentious bastard before…even in jest!

    cool!

  • http://ari.typepad.com Steve Rhodes

    I liked it. And the score by Jon Brion (who has worked with Aimee Mann and did the music for Magnolia and Punch Drunk Love) is great.

    Russell said there is about two hours cut material which will be on the DVD and I think cutting some of it may have hurt the film.

    A lot of people won’t like it, but some people will.

    Russell said he’d like to make another film with the same characters.

    The friendship between Jason Schwartzman’s character and Mark Wahlberg’s character is based on the friendship between Russell and Wahlberg. And Dustin Hoffman’s character is partly based on Robert Thurmond (who is Uma’s dad and a former professor of Russell’s).

    And everybody should watch Three Kings.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    Jon Brion is a musical freak of nature. i heard this bit about him on the radio yesterday. they played part of a live recording from his friday night shows out in l.a.

    he was taking requests and came up with Aerosmith and The Smiths…he then proceeded to sing the lyrics to “This Charming Man” on top of the music to “Walk This Way”.

    made me want to take a trip to l.a.

  • Sean

    it didn’t suck.

    it just wasn’t your style.

    I loved it.

    go see it, an don’t take this persons word for it (or rent it, whatever)

    SEAN

  • http://cherylcoward.com Cheryl

    i did see it. it wasn’t my style, which is why i didn’t like it. i wouldn’t write a movie review without seeing the movie first.

  • Cerilli

    What is it with people who think they no what they are talking about, and try to prject their opinoins with embarassing allusions?

    I never thought I would have such a fine opportunity to read a pile of crap. There would have been a chance that I would have agreed with your statements towards this film, had this piece of writing been worth my time. In short, and without verbal pomp: you’re an idiot. Sorry Cheryl Coward, but you’re trying too hard to be intellectual. Perhaps to you this movie careened over your adolescent head as you fantasized about lesbians. Perhaps you lost the meaning while you were irrelvantly digging up a common hatred towards Jerry Seinfeld. I oughta pimp-slap you for ever writing this pathetic article. If you have something to say, I can accpet that. But the manner in which you presented it is utterly unedjucated and upsetting. I certainly hope you don’t plan to succeed in anything which requires talent, because you unfortuantely, and immentley, will fail. All I can say is that I am happy I did not have to fork out any money to experience your article.

    And yes, I enjoyed the movie.

    You friggin’ idiot.

  • gene

    Cerilli,
    First, learn how to spell. Second, the author is obviously more educated and intelligent than you. Third, get a life. Your comments are juvenile and idiotic.

  • Bill

    I agree with gene (as weird of a name that may be) This poor little boy, probably of italian descent, is completely oblivious to any sensible clue. This offensive remark to an innocent comment on the film can be seen as …for lack of a better word, retarded. Why don’t you go design a logo which is a circle with a line through it. It could represent you, wearing a hat. That would be dandy, and hopefully keep you happy. Hopefully. What an interesting word: hopefully. (who better to say it than me, a boy next to a caledictorian) I hope so…
    Anyways, I am rambling on here. The point is that yes, you did make several spelling mistakes. haha, immently… WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN?! That is fine. you managed to get your point across. That’s all that matters. Right? Right? Good boy. Now, I do disagree with the statement “the author is obviously more educated and intelligent than you.” I believe that we are all equal. Like a blanket. A blanket is the same no matter where you look at it. That’s the blanket truth. this article cleverly demonstrates that although we are all the same, we all share different opinions. This writer’s poor style demonsrates how the film is not targeted at an audience who is unwilling to open their minds. Cerilli’s response shows how a single concept can provoke such strong emotion in defence to an innocent comment. In my opinion, David Russell has succeeded with his film, as he now has a continuous conflict occuring outside of the fictional realm of his film. That would be any director’s dream. To have people fight against his movie, and others defending it. A war of opinion, all caused by one tiny little movie. I, being an aspiring director, have had wet dreams about this happening to one of my movies in the future. Disagreement is inevitable, and the war caused by this is just the same. The only way we can really overcome such a conflict is to immerse ourselves into a state of nothingness. Feel nothing, think nothing, be nothing. Then we can really appreciate the human drama for what it is: a simple sideshow. Accept it, and you will enjoy. Deny it, and you will be deprived. I feel the only way I can really conclude my comment is with congrats to David Russell, in compiling such a masterpiece.

    jeez, I kinda rambled on there….

  • James B.

    Cheryl, in your opening statement you state – “most moviegoers (will be) scratching their heads at SUPPOSED philosophical meanings?”

    If you knew anything about REAL existentialism you would see that Russel’s portrayal of existential views is mostly satirical and mocking… you are trying too hard to to buy into it’s philosophical diatribe. It does not try to offer any profound truths. If people do actually understand what is being said than they need help. So, you MISSED the point. Huckabees is first and foremost a satire. Russel is openly critical of those self-righteous individuals who believe their way is “the” way. Instead of espousing (go look it up) the bizarre existential doctrines of his characters, he mocks them.

    I think it is safe to say that much of your experience with this film could be because you really didn’t get it. But that is ok. They are your views and you are entitled to them. Just don’t pass them off on other people if you don’t have a clue.

    Everyone has differing opinions of what makes a good, interesting, and funny film. Some people think lesbian lovers are entertaining. To each his/her own, I guess.

    If you are interested, you should see this movie. You could be suprised. I wasn’t sure about it after first watching the preview, but It turned out to be very enjoyable and fun. It actually, in terms of story and plot, was alot different than what I thought it would be according to what was shown in the trailer. And I even think it could be something to add to my “top 10″ list. Will have to see it one more time on DVD and then decide. To conclude, I think as all things go, it might not be everyones or the “average” moviegoer’s cup of tea. But I think most could agree that I Heart Huckabees is certainly unique.

  • James B.

    Everyone, go see this movie.

  • Bill

    A-friggin’-men

  • Devin

    I can’t think of anything else to say besides [deleted according to BC policy against personal attacks] who prabobly enjoys the show charmed. [deleted according to BC policy against personal attacks]

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