I (Heart) Huckabees

I (Heart) Huckabees

I (Heart) Huckabees is a really bizarre movie. In a good way. I think.

It bills itself as an "existential comedy" and it is that. That story centers around a young man (Jason Schwartzman), who has been working to save the environment from developers, looking to resolve an existential crisis. He turns to a couple of detectives (Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin) for help. From this initial premise, the hero goes through several stages of crisis, including a vaguely nihilistic stage where he abondons his friend for a sex romp with a French crisis counselor that involves the erotic power of mud.

Like I said, it's a comedy.

The whole thing makes sense in the context of the film, which doesn't make any sense at all, which is ok, because it's not supposed to. And that's what is both funny and difficult about the movie. The philosophy is played for its camp value, while several scenes are strung together very haphazardly, without ever making a case for their logical sequence. In addition, several characters are introduced and dropped and moved about in their relationships without much regard for any kind of cohesion or clear reasoning. The conclusin to the film is fairly Hollywood in that most of the major questions are answered in a nice, friendly way, with only positive repercussions for the protaganist, moving forward.

If that were all there was to the film, I would probably write it off as charming and quirky and never watch it again. However, the acting is top notch. Jason Schwartzman has been one of my favorite actors to watch since his debut in Rushmore and Mark Wahlberg turns in a solid performance as Schwatzman's partner in existential crisis.

The soundtrack is also very well done. I'm not often a fan of musical scores, save for the occasional too-good-to-be-believed score like Last of the Mohicans, but this one, just, well, fits. It adds to the movie in several scenes without ever becoming overwhelming or pushy.

Finally, the thing that will earn this movie a place on my DVD shelf is the final shot, just before the closing credits. Much like film Jackie Brown, where Quentin Tarantino uses the final shot as a one word epilogue that brings everything home with an emotional intensity that plants the film firmly in the viewer's mind as a whole, the last shot of I (Heart) Huckabees does much to solidify the movie in one's mind as a cohesive, bizarre, fun, coming of age story that reminds us to take ourselves completely seriously, before we disregard ourselves utterly.

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