Hi, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab...
Over the weekend, I got sent the following link from several different sources, and I still don’t get it. It’s one of the strangest semi-teasers for a film this year, part of the rather annoying trend of movie trailers that look like commercials. Except... I don’t think this is really a trailer. I’m not sure what it is.
CLICK HERE FOR NAOMI WATTS DRESSED IN VERY LITTLE... ALWAYS A GOOD THING!!
Personally, I’m dying to see this film. I like David O. Russell’s films so far, and this one’s got me intrigued just from the little bit I’ve heard so far. Still... this first reaction to it seems pretty harsh. Check it out...
After having seen what was apparently the first screening anywhere of the upcoming movie "I Love Huckabee's," I have two questions to ask director David O. Russell: Who are you, and what have you done with director David O. Russell?
It's astounding, really. The guy who directed "Three Kings" finally follows up that great film with an unbelievably awkward, incoherent, and just plain strange comedy about.... well, I'm not really sure. To start with, the title is apparently "I Heart Huckabee's," with an actual heart like a bumper sticker. It's a weird-ass title, but that's nothing compared to the movie itself.
Let me try to sort of give you an idea what this thing is about. Jason Schwartzman plays Albert, an environmentalist who has run into the same stranger three times in recent weeks. He is apparently so unsettled by this coincidence that he decides to hire a pair of "existential detectives," played by Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman, to figure out what it means. The detectives, however, are more interested in delving into his private and professional lives to find out why he is sad and miserable. He can't get rid of them. To make matters worse, his rival Brad (Jude Law) also signs up with the detectives out of curiosity, and though he soon tires of them, he can't get rid of them either. The "Huckabee's" of the title is a Wal-Mart-like mega-chain that Brad works for and that Albert is opposed to as per his job at an anti-suburban-sprawl non-profit organization.
This is the set-up, and it really doesn't get any more interesting or exciting from here. It tries very hard to be a comical romp but sabotages itself with it's impenetrable pop psychology. About fifty percent of the movie (and all of Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman's dialogue) is new age existential mumbo jumbo that doesn't really make any sense. At first, with Dustin Hoffman talking about how everything is connected and how you have to strip away all your layers until you reach a cosmic level, you get the feeling that the movie is going to be a Charlie Kaufman-esque head trip, which it clearly wants to be. But they give up on the weird, hallucinatory imagery and ideas about halfway through, so most of the movie is people yelling nonsensical psychobabble at each other. In fact, they seem to abandon the new age stuff altogether at the end and rely on regular psychology, which begs the question, what the hell was the point of all of this in the first place? Is Russell making fun of new age therapy? If he is, it's hard to tell, because he dwells on it for so much of the movie that he must think he's making some kind of sense.
Not to be entirely down on the movie, it is funny at times. Mark Wahlberg, as a belligerent fireman who whole-heartedly embraces existentialism, is pretty much a hoot through the whole thing. Naomi Watts, despite playing a major character, only shows up in the middle of the movie when her character needs to do something, and then kind of disappears again. But her part is very funny, as a ridiculously sexy spokesperson for Huckabee's who announces sale items while writhing around in skimpy outfits. Jude Law also has a lot of fun as the overly charming executive who starts to have a crisis of conscience, but most all the other actors are adrift in the script, either spouting or pretending to understand all the nonsensical dialogue. Now this is obviously a very early cut of the film, and it will no doubt be edited down quite a bit. But the whole movie centers around such impenetrable concepts that I don't think cutting it down will lead to it making any more sense.
If you use this, call me Ash Housewares.
No matter what, I’ll have to see it for myself. The guy’s just made too many good films in a row for me to write it off. I hope the period between now and release gives Russell a chance to clean it up and make it work really well. We’ll see...