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Movie Review: I (Heart) Huckabees

Alternate Title: Existential Crap

Story: I Hate Huckabees would have been too easy an alternate title for this piece of self-indulgent drivel by director, writer David O. Russell (known for the far superior Flirting With Disaster and Three Kings).

The story is a yawner. Environmentalist and poet, Albert Markovski heads a group called 'Open Spaces' whose main objective is to beat back suburban sprawl against companies like Walmart (here, called, Huckabees). He hires two existential detectives to uncover his obsession with a random (or was it)? meeting with a Sudanese doorman (puh-leeze). More inane stuff happens and then not much happens.

This film is a major train wreck and a celluloid calamity. My existential thought for today is that we all have free will -- so use your free will and stay far, far away from this film.

Acting: An great cast that includes: Dustin Hoffman, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Lily Tomlin, Mark Wahlberg and Jason Schwartzman. The film should have been a lot better. All of the actors looked pained. The only character that I found mildly endearing was Mark Wahlberg's and that was a stretch. Jason Schwartzman has quite a pedigree. He is the son of Talia Shire (Rocky) who also appears in the film as his mother and his lineage includes being the nephew of Francis Ford Coppola and cousin to Nicholas Cage and Sofia Coppola. So, why isn't he a better actor one might ask? (I know I will get mail on this statement.)

Predilection: I liked Three Kings a lot and I was seduced by the promos and the great cast.

Critters: None other than some talk of geckos.

Food: There was a long running theme about chicken salad sandwiches and tuna sandwiches and Shania Twain - but no food in sight.

Visual Art: There was an interesting Cy Twombly like painting (that gave me my biggest laugh) and an occasional arty dissection of the human form.

Blatant Product Placement: None.

Soundtrack: I can't recall a note. I may have to include a new category called the 'Drift Factor' soon.

Opening Titles: None (that I can recall).

Theater Audience: A handful of disappointed theater go-ers whose forced laughter quickly faded. Two people walked out (bravo to them for exercising their free will).

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: Tried too hard to be quirky.

Squirm Scale: I admit to checking my watch many times and thinking that time had stopped in this alternate existential universe.

Predictability Level: Who cared?

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Gads, no!

Big Screen or Rental: Use those precious two hours to read something from those wacky authors who gave us Existentialism like: Sartre, Nietzsche or Kierkegaard.

Length: Under two hours but still seemed long.

LOBO HOWLS: 2 (this goes directly onto Lobo's Worst of 2004 List).