I ♥ Huckabees
2004
When a mystery needs to be solved, and it's not a whodunit but rather a maze involving complex emotions, it requires the expertise of intellectual -- and perhaps slightly kooky -- detectives Vivian (Lily Tomlin) and Bernard (Dustin Hoffman). Jude Law and Naomi Watts co-star in David O. Russell's quirky comedy that finds the existential husband-and-wife team helping a do-gooding client (Jason Schwartzman) who's plagued by twists of fate.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

You're on your own here, viewers. I went into this movie knowing nothing except a scant story premise and that it was made by the underappreciated David O. Russell. I enjoyed it immensely, laughing longer and harder than I have at many movies in many months. It wasn't until the next day, when I talked to other moviegoers and read reviews and comments online, that I discovered what a vitriolic response it inspired in most people. "Dull"? "Unfunny"? "Boring"? Did I somehow wind up with a different movie than other viewers did? I laughed from start to finish, at every audacious risk the movie giddily took, at its jokes both highbrow and low. Mark Wahlberg was the funniest among the terrific cast, playing the craziest loon with the straightest face.

I've heard that the philosophy isn't very deep, that it's all Human Psychology 101 stuff. So? If you want philosophy, rent Waking Life (another movie that was undeservingly accused of being philosophically shallow). This movie uses existentialism only as scratch material for its crazy comic riffs; it has as much to do with real philosophy as "Seed of Chucky" has to do with the real filmmaking industry or "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" has to do with the real publishing business. Besides, it's not the subject matter, it's what the film does with it, and this one goes on insane benders that would give stoners a headache, cruising wildly from one hilarious twist to another as its characters attempt to decode their mundane reality and arrive at bizarre conclusions. If you get a silly grin just thinking of the wild cinematic digressions explored by Paul Thomas Anderson and Wes Anderson, imagine them with a heady, punchline-thick screenplay and actors who clearly do not care how ridiculous they seem. Based on comments from so many other viewers who were bored stiff, I cannot guarantee that you'll enjoy this film, but for some, like me, it is a wild adventure of uninhibited creative ambition, and a riotous madcap romp till the final frame.

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