I Heart Huckabees

By Adam Lippe


Gene Siskel always maintained that you should never make a movie about people the audience can’t stand. I loathed the characters in I Heart Huckabees. They are jittery, shallow, stupid, and agitated, and that’s exactly how they make the viewer feel. The whole movie is so anxious and you just want to scream at the screen to tell everyone to shut up. Since the characters are constantly trying to find themselves in a new agey style of self-discovery, you’d think that at one end, either the beginning or the conclusion, that they were or they became tolerable, satisfied people. But, no, they are just annoying and they find new ways to be annoying by the end. Half-baked theories about the connections in the universe and how coincidence relates to us ought to accompany a Yanni CD, not a movie by the guy who made Spanking the Monkey.

Mark Wahlberg is slimy, selfish, and pushy, and still sounds like a high school kid pissed about not knowing his lines. Jude Law is self-centered, obnoxious and phony. He is supposed to be the opposite of Jason Schwartzman, his enemy in the film, and by the end, he’s taken on his characteristics, reflective, pretentious, and lost. Schwartzman makes the trade-off as well, but I’m not sure it’s a benefit to anyone. Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin are there to give lectures and cause trouble, basically announcing everyone’s character traits, because writer/director David O. Russell was apparently too lazy to develop them first, and took the easy way out.

I’m amused picturing Russell convincing Isabelle Huppert and Schwartzman that they should cover each other in mud and then dunk their heads in a mud puddle as a preamble to doggy style humping. That’s a scene you won’t see anywhere else.

The only laugh is a fantasy sequence where Schwartzman imagines himself sucking milk out of Law’s heaving, hairy breasts.

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By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]

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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.