I [HEART] HUCKABEES (2004)

This modern classic is even better than I remembered it being five years ago. It was one of my top five picks of 2004 but now I think it deserves a place in my Top 20 of all time. So, so good. So, so funny.

I was worried the movie might have been spoiled for me by the well publicized video of director David Russell’s verbal abuse of his actors. At the least, I thought the film might reveal a dark undercurrent to viewers aware of the tension behind the scenes, but all of the actors are such pros that there are absolutely no cracks in their performances. Whenever a particular set reminded me of the leaked video, the distraction quickly evaporated because the proceedings are just so good-natured.

Yes, Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Isabelle Huppert, and early appearances by Jonah Hill and Isla Fisher are all pitch-perfect. But it is Mark Wahlberg who deserves the most recognition for the sincerity of his comedy.

I <3 Huckabees belongs to that slim genre of serious comedy that Wes Anderson seems to have cornered the market on, but unlike Anderson’s hermetically sealed constructs, Huckabees is free to breath because it does not labor under his visual idiosyncracies and mannered acting preferences.

Unencumbered by Anderson’s formalism, Russell’s ability to make such a wordy script feel positively breezy is already an impressive accomplishment, but the fact that it all looks so effortlessly done is a tribute to the fortitude and professionalism of the entire cast.

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5 thoughts on “I [HEART] HUCKABEES (2004)

  1. redison says:

    Top 20? Wow. You’re review has me intrigued. I was never really drawn to the movie; never opposed to it, just whatever about it. Now I think I’ll be checking it out. And Lily Tomlin is always a delightful force to be reckoned with…

  2. Nobody says:

    If you’ve never seen it before, it definitely deserves your perusal. I can’t even say, “You’ll probably like it if you liked X,” because I can’t think of another movie it can be compared to!

  3. redison says:

    Wow! I remembered reading your review of this movie, but completely forgot about your response to my comment when I was watching the movie for the first time earlier today. I thought the exact same thing about half way through… : “I can’t even say, “You’ll probably like it if you liked X,” because I can’t think of another movie it can be compared to!”

    I can’t think of a movie like this one! Once I understood the premise I nearly (excuse my vulgarity) jizzed in my pants. I was like, “Really? I want to pay someone to do that for me!” Come in and fuck up my life real bad. For the better, of course.

    I turn 25 tomorrow, a turning age I guess (or so it feels like to me), so it seems like (coincidentally???) the perfect movie to prepare me for the next 25 years! Yay for Existentialism!

    Great movie! Thanks!

  4. Nobody says:

    Glad you liked it so much. It is definitely one of a kind, and in my top ten of the decade (a list I ought to post soon, before it is too late to bother!).

    There are so many great moments in Huckabees that it would be pointless to enumerate them, but the last time I saw it my favorite line was a throw-away joke I had missed the first time I saw it: “Sign out the bikes, sign out the bikes!”

  5. Nobody says:

    I <3 Huckabees is also the only evidence that Jude Law might in fact be one of our finest actors.

    (Sorry, but I can never resist an opportunity to quote Sean Penn's most earnest statement ever!)

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