02 July 2013

2 July - "Why don't you like my spots?"

I Heart Huckabees (2004)

dir. David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, 2012)

Jason Schwartzman (Rushmore, 1998)
Isabelle Huppert (Time of the Wolf, 2003)
Dustin Hoffman (Hook, 1991)
Lily Tomlin (Krippendorf's Tribe, 1998)
Jude Law (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, 1997)
Mark Wahlberg (Boogie Nights, 1997)
Naomi Watts (Eastern Promises, 2007)
Kevin Dunn (Almost Heroes, 1998)
Tippi Hendren (The Birds, 1963)
Said Taghmaoui (Hidalgo, 2004)
Jean Smart (Youth in Revolt, 2009)
Jonah Hill (Megamind (voice), 2010)
Isla Fisher (Rango, 2011)
John Rothman (The Devil's Advocate, 1997)
Talia Shire (Rocky, 1976)
Bob Gunton (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, 1997)
Saige Ryan Campbell (All I Want for Christmas, 2007)

I Heart Huckabees is one of those comedies that finds its humor in the absurdity of situations rather than jokes or physical comedy. The protagonist, played by Jason Schwartzman, hires a duo of existential detectives to discover meaning behind His coincidental encounter with the small Sudanese man three times in one day. As is the way with existential crises, however, the investigation rapidly spills into other aspects of his life, mainly the collaborative project between the protagonist's environmental organization and Wal-Mart-esk Huckabees superstore to preserve a patch of wetlands from development. Brad, the Huckabees representative for the wetlands project, sees this as a good PR move, but soon he and others around our protagonist are drawn into existential dilemmas of our own. The characters address the big questions, what am I? And why am I here? with the humor stemming from the absurdity of these personal dilemmas manifesting very tangibly and publicly in day to day life. 

I've seen I Heart Huckabees several times now. I find it to be more accessible than many other indie comedies, which are often so dark that they hardly merit being called comedies (as in Sunshine Cleaning). This is the exception, the tone consistently remains light even as the subject matter becomes heady. Great cast, too.

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