I Heart Huckabees

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
I Heart Huckabees Movie Poster Image
Brilliant existential comedy is filled with sex, profanity.
  • R
  • 2004
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Characters learn to overcome nihilism and meaningless to find the interconnectedness in all things.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters in this quirky existentialist satire on the human condition and suburban sprawl don't emerge as being especially strong role models.

Violence

Mild comic peril and some shoving. Two characters repeatedly hit each other in the face with a dodgeball. One character sets another's house on fire, almost leading to the death of one of the female lead characters.

Sex

Two characters are shown having sex in a marsh. They are clothed but are in a sexual position. In a brief dream image, one of the male characters is shown with long blonde hair and female breasts, as one of the other male characters sucks on one of the breasts until milk comes out. A woman is in a bikini posing in a sexual manner as she promotes Huckabees. The frequency of sexual intercourse is discussed, as is masturbation.

Language

Frequent profanity throughout the film: "f--k," "motherf---ker," "c--ksucker," "s--t," "bulls--t," "d--k," "p--sy," and "a--hole." In the first scene, the lead character's first words are a torrent of curse words, and he repeats this torrent later in the film.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters are shown drinking in a restaurant, but do not act intoxicated.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has extremely strong language ("f--k," "motherf---ker," "c--ksucker," "s--t," "bulls--t," "d--k," "p--sy," "a--hole"), and some sexual references (frequency of sexual intercourse is discussed, as is masturbation) and one brief explicit sexual situation (one of the male characters is shown with long blonde hair and female breasts, as one of the other male characters sucks on one of the breasts until milk comes out). Characters drink and smoke. The movie includes mild comic peril and some tense confrontations.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bymommygirl987654321 August 26, 2010

Hucabees: The everything movie

It takes a certain person to like this movie. First off you have to have a high tollerance to vulgar words(ie: c**k) and you have to understand the message. Als... Continue reading
Parent of a 13 and 17 year old Written byKim M. February 24, 2018

Existential questions served with humor

My 17-year-old and I really enjoyed this film. It raises the most profound life questions that all adults ultimately grapple with, but with humor and insight. G... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bystephiloo December 15, 2008

Existential Paradise

This movie was awesome. If you don't understand philosophy, you won't get it though. :)
Kid, 12 years old February 7, 2010
Oh my god I love I heart Huckabees it is a such a fantastically smart, original, quirky and feel good dramadey, the storyline is very interesting and new, and t... Continue reading

What's the story?

In I HEART HUCKABEES, Albert Markovski (Jason Schwartzman) is having problems at work. The Open Spaces coalition he put together to oppose development of a marsh and woods is losing its focus, thanks to the charm and dazzle of Brad Stand (Jude Law), a smooth public relations guy from a Walmart-like chain called Huckabees, "the everything store." But what Albert wants to understand is a coincidence. He has seen the same tall young African man three times in three very different sets of circumstances and wants to know what that means. So he goes to a husband-and-wife team of "existential detectives," Vivian (Lily Tomlin) and Bernard Jaffe (Dustin Hoffman) and asks them to investigate. He wants them to examine the coincidence and tells them to stay away from his office, but since they believe that everything is connected they accept no limitations; they may not even see any. Meanwhile, another client of the existential detectives is having, well, an existential crisis. A fireman named Tommy (Mark Wahlberg) is reading a book by Caterine Vauban (Isabelle Huppert) that says nothing in life is connected or meaningful, and that feels much more real to him than what the Jaffes have been telling him. Brad Stand also has hired the Jaffes and is not prepared for what happens when they begin talking to his girlfriend, Dawn (Naomi Watts), the bikini-wearing Huckabees spokesmodel.

Is it any good?

There aren't many comedies about existentialism, and the brilliance of this movie is how it uses the form of the screwball comedy both to represent and explore existential themes. The movie has a sure sense of comic structure and timing, with classic comedy conventions such as high-speed dialogue, wild plot permutations, family craziness, over-reaction to trivial things, under-reaction to non-trivial things, some sharp satire about our consumer culture, a little slapstick, some terrible poetry, and of course a few romantic complications. I Heart Huckabees is clearly the product of someone who has waded through Teutonic philosophy and eastern mysticism and fortunately came out the other side with a sense of humor intact.

Director and co-screenwriter David O. Russell has a lot of fun playing with the classic philosophical dualities/debates. The difference between philosophy and art is that philosophy tries to deal with dichotomies in a logical and linear way, whereas art is free to ricochet back and forth between them like a pinball machine. Russell directs his crackerjack cast at top speed, and they all perform with buoyant conviction and pure comic energy that is delicious to watch. This is Law's best performance so far, stunning in its fearlessness and control of tone. He keeps Brad a character and not a caricature when he's at his most charming and when he begins to unravel.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about politics, economics, psychology, religion, and utilitarianism versus idealistic extremism.

  • How is the theme of suburban sprawl explored in this movie?

  • In what ways does this movie explore weighty philosophical ideas?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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