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I Heart Huckabees

Flirting With Disaster?

Absent from the silver screen have been films that center around the dilemmas of existentialism. Few directors aside from the daring and inventive David O. Russell (Flirting With Disaster, Spanking The Monkey) would consider flirting with this kind of subject matter. While I Heart Huckabees isn't exactly a disaster, it pales in comparison to Russell's other films.

The film is populated with complex and idiosyncratic characters similar to the ones Russell created in his former films. As with the latter film, the characters are well portrayed by a strong supporting cast comprised of Dustin Hoffman, Lily Tomlin, Mark Wahlberg, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, and Jason Schwartzman. All of the aforementioned do a great job playing their respective roles. Russell's characters are interesting and even hysterical at times.

However, the major problem with Russell's film is the lack of a coherent storyline. Schwartzman's Albert Markovski finds himself having a bit of an existential crisis. He's an ardent environmentalist who is fighting a losing battle in preserving open spaces. Confronted with an odd set of coincidences he seeks out the services of existential detectives Jaffe and Jaffe (Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman).

What starts out as an amusing quest to determine the source of Markovski's coincidences devolves into a stream of consciousness primer on existentialism. It's interesting to a certain extent, but ultimately does not gel into a clear narrative. Amusing at times, I Heart Huckabees's fails to provide much more than occasional laughs and musings on the randomness of existence.

Stars: 2.5 out of 5