I Heart Huckabees

Movie Information

In Brief: David O. Russell's offbeat "existential comedy" about unusual detectives (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin) who claim to be able to help their clients solve the big questions that plague their lives — chiefly the questions beleaguring a poet/activist (Jason Schwartzman) and a disatisfied fireman (Mark Wahlberg). An effortlessly quirky film that's a good deal deeper than a lot of so-called dramas.
Genre: Comedy
Director: David O. Russell
Starring: Jason Schwartzman, Mark Wahlberg, Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Jude Law, Naomi Watts
Rated: R

The Asheville Film Society has timed David O. Russell’s “existential comedy” I Heart Huckabees (which got my vote for the best film of 2004) to play just before the opening of Russell’s new film Silver Linings Playbook — a film that looks likely to return Russell to something like the creative tone of Huckabees. (Whatever can be said in defense of Russell’s last film, The Fighter (2010), it can hardly be said to bear much of the director’s style or concerns.) Huckabees is one of those generally polarizing movies that viewers either love or hate — and one that played for an inordinately long time in Asheville. There are a number of plots — they all relate, as they must for the film’s concept to work — but the connecting thread is the husband-and-wife team of “existential detectives” (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin), whose work is more philosophical and psychological than traditional sleuthing. They purport to be able to get to the bottom of the great quandaries of their clients’ lives — through methods that can only be called unorthodox. Much of what they do is attempted to be undermined by a professional rival (Isabelle Huppert), whose approach is much darker than theirs. (It’s sort of a Camus/Sartre tension.) Central to their investigations are a confused poet/activist (Jason Schwartzman) and an unrelated case involving a fireman (Mark Wahlberg) who is suffering a bout of malaise over the condition of the world. But that’s only the crux of the matter in this complex, funny and perceptive film.

Link to the original review: http://avl.mx/n5

The Asheville Film Society will screen I Heart Huckabees Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 8 p.m. in the Cinema Lounge of The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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