[ Pith of Pop - My take on movies, music, and more. ]

[ Movies Category ]
I Heart Huckabees
Posted to Movies at 08:48 PM on Aug 25, 2005

2004. Fox Searchlight Pictures. Directed by David O. Russell. Starring Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman

Jude Law is not cute. At best, he is good-looking in that insipid pretty-boy way. And even in those moments when he appears to be somewhat handsome, one is reminded of that faint whiff of insincere car salesman that tends to seep out in many of his roles. For instance, you have Dickie, the smug, arrogant playboy in The Talented Mr. Ripley. There's Billy, the gold-digging hustler in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. And earlier this year, he played the title role as the ultimate skirt-chasing cad in a remake of Alfie. Law may be a nice guy, but playing such incredibly offensive people seems to have gotten under his skin, and now Law seems sleazy and unattractive by association.

In Huckabees, Jude plays a sleazoid department store owner. He has weasled his way into an environmental nonprofit group, muscling out hippie do-gooder Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman). This slight triggers an existential crisis in Albert. He seeks help in the form of a husband-and-wife team of "existential detectives" (Tomlin and Hoffman).

If forced to make a comparison, I would have to lump this film in with Adaptation or Being John Malkovich, but not even that would be entirely accurate. There's a certain level of aren't-we-clever mugging for the audience that it shares with those films, but there's more, too.

There are actual funny parts. There's a hilarious cameo near the end. To reveal who is in the cameo is giving away too much, but I can say that it's pretty satisfying when it happens. The story is so full of little details that I probably didn't even catch them all. Remember Tippi Hedren from The Birds? She has a small but quite comical role.

MarkyMark Wahlberg plays Tommy Corn, a firefighter who's also hit a wall. Tommy is a sensitive, confused soul. Wahlberg is an okay actor, but he doesn't quite capture the essence of Tommy. The brief moments in which Tommy shows some aggression are when Wahlberg is most believable. I wouldn't say the role is miscast, but I could see at least half a dozen other actors playing Tommy who would be better.

As any good satire does, Huckabees leaves people scratching their heads. I'm still not done watching it, even though I sat in my chair until the credits were over. I'm most puzzled by a conversation that Albert and Tommy have with a conservative farm-belt family over dinner. And how that fits into the numerous country music references in the movie. And how those things fit in with the heavy philosophy talk. It's no popcorn movie.


Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Note: Your comment will not appear immediately, as comments are moderated. Also, the "Preview" function is not cooperating. If you use it, click "back" on your browser to submit your final comment from this page.

Biography Journal Weblog Reviews Moblog Links

© 1997-2005 Jennifer Ozawa/Ozawa.Org · E-Mail: jen@ozawa.org · Last Modified: June 27, 2009