I Heart Huckabees was the dumbest movie I've seen in a while, though I admittedly have not seen a lot lately. Surprisingly, I read quite a few good reviews in advance of seeing it, but the whole thing was a let-down, full of lazy quasi-philosophy that lead to an asinine conclusion. It had its comic moments, but otherwise was too full of itself. I think that David O. Russell was trying to work in the vein of Wes Anderson while lacking Anderson's subtlety and general lightness of touch, opting instead for heavy-handedness and some cheap laughs. Anderson's best work, in contrast, never seems like it has to try to hard to be incredibly funny and moving at the same time. I'm counting the days until The Life Aquatic.
But maybe it's just the shallow American in me, as Joe Queenan seems to think the film was just too deep for Americans. Oh, Europe, if this qualifies as deep then I despair for you. But I'm not losing hope; after seeing it last night, I read this mauling in the Observer this morning:
David O Russell's deeply disappointing I Heart Huckabees is a lesser product of 'the new whimsy', that school of surreal, absurdist comedy to which Charlie Kaufman, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson belong.
Any of those directors would I'm sure be embarrassed to be associated with this product. It's obviously derivative of their various styles, but you can't lump it into "the new whimsy" school when it is so self-consciously trying to be important and big. I hope that Russell sticks with what he does best, as in the excellent Three Kings.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
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