I Heart Huckabees (2004) 
Directed by: David O’Russell

Premise: Two existential detectives (Dustin Hoffman and Lilly Tomlin) come to the aid of a nature preservation activist (Jason Schwartzman) who is going through an identity crisis. 

What Works: This is a very thoughtful and idiosyncratic comedy. The filmmakers follow the pattern of the junkie-recovery genre, but they use philosophy in place of drugs and create a funny and unusual world. There are some really great characters in the film, including Isabelle Huppert as a nihilistic French philosopher and Mark Wahlberg as a client going through an ethical crisis.

What Doesn’t: Viewers who don’t know anything about philosophy will be lost. Much of the film’s humor is like an inside joke for philosophy students or those who have a basic understanding of existential issues.

DVD extras: The single disc edition features two commentary tracks. The two-disc special edition release has commentary tracks, featurettes, extended and deleted scenes, commercials, photos, a music video, and a Charlie Rose interview.

Bottom Line: I Heart Huckabees is a film for philosophy students or at least those with some familiarity with philosophical issues. Viewers who do not completely understand these issues may still find the film enjoyable for its fast story and unusual characters.

 

Episode: #52 (May 15, 2005)