9.27.2005

I Heart Huckabees



Vivian Jaffe: Have you ever transcended space and time?
Albert: Yes. No. Uh...time, not space. No, I have no idea what you're talking about.

Over the weekend, I rewatched I Heart Huckabees, seeing it for the second time. I initially avoided seeing it at all because my parents said it was the worst movie ever made. The first time I finally did watch it, I was perplexed: it's not that I didn't fully understand the film, but I couldn't decided what I thought of it. I mean, I was attracted to it, but I wasn't sure I liked it.

Upon the second viewing, I've decided it's one of my favorite movies.

What's brilliant about it is its absurdity. I really like the comedy of the absurd. In this case, it takes the form of two very dedicated "Existential Detectives" investigating one confused man's triple coincidence and their battle against a very dark, seductive French nihilist. If nothing else, I Heart Huckabees is the cinematic version of Mid-20th Century European Philosophy for Dummies, breaking down both the existential and nihilist traditions into squabbling factions, each bent on total universe dominance.

If nothing else, there is joy in watching Marky Mark (formerly of the Funky Bunch) cry out that the universe has no meaning and that all meaning is nothingness.

The biggest fault in Huckabees is probably also its greatest strength. The humor is so delicate and nuanced that it would be easy to misinterpret its comedy as earnestness.

"We're not in infinity; we're in the suburbs."

6 comments:

  1. Charles: We must be on a similar wavelength: Dean and I just re-watched Huckabees on cable last night. I loved this movie the first time around, and I still love it now. "Existential detectives:" Yowza! The scene where Dustin Hoffman's character is talking with Mark Whalberg's character, and the other guy, and their faces are turning into little pixelated boxes, is just amazing. Dean, who is a psychotherapist, agrees with me that this movie is a terrific and multi-layered send-up of contemporary psychotherapy and self-enrichment. And we just died laughing. On the inside.

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  2. Peter: "It was amazing. But it was also nothing special." ;)

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  3. I saw it when it came out in the theatre and loved it. I was also a bit tipsy. Then, I saw it on dvd and loved it, minus the tipsy. It's such a smart and funny movie. So I bought it. End narrative.

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  4. I'm esp fond of Lily Tomlin in this. she's been a great comic actress for many years now but there seems a different level of work going on here. particularly in her reaction scenes when she has no lines.

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  5. Okay you all know I have a photo of Lily Tomlin with my children, right? She's wonderful.

    My date HATED THIS MOVIE, I mean really hated and I thought it was a wonderful.

    But I do think you have to have a certain mind set....

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  6. What a waste of time and money. Just insulting it was so bad.

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