From: February 26, 2011
I find it really surprising that I just now watched this, given its theme. Essentially, this thoughtful comedy follows the characters of Albert (Jason Schwartzman) and Tommy (Mark Walhberg) as they search for a valid life philosophy. Both characters employ a pair of naturalist detectives who claim they can help them reach clarity through the purging of material desires. The detectives appear to have a very buddhist, zen outlook, with the exception of their forcing of ideas onto their clients by means of recording their phone conversations, snooping on their window sills, and even digging in their garbage. Meanwhile an existential author shows up just in time to skew the view points of Albert and Tommy through the learning power of a big rubber ball to the face. Really. Viewers should be left pondering which philosophy is right based on the outcome of the film. The question really becomes “do the two philosophies really clash, or are they working together for a common goal?” This may sound like a dry experience, but I Heart Huckabees is anything but dramatic. The comedy of the film relies on the fact that the feelings of the characters – be they of Albert and Tommy, or even the confused Huckabees model (played by Naomi Watts) who gives up her glamorous life to spend her days wearing bonnets and overalls – are absolutely relatable. If you don’t appreciate this film, it must be because you have never felt the confusion that these characters are feeling. This is very much a “what am I doing with my life? how the hell did I get here” wild ride.
It is the delivery of the actors that makes this film most successful, particularly that of Mark Whalberg. With such challenging subject matter, Marky-Mark himself manages to develop a spot on character with such an complete sense of sincerity and genuine curiosity. He is hurt by others, and his reactions are true to life; simultaneously pain-filled and detached. These characters are playful, sweet, and at times heartbreaking. It’s always a treat to see actors really bringing something to a role, because it’s an indication that they actually mean what they’re doing. Kudos to the cast on this one. Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Jude Law, are all just wonderful.
If you like movies with a touch of idealistic mind-puzzlery you should add this to your queue. (and, you’ll just have to get over Jason Schwartzman’s mole).