Film: I ♥ Huckabees
Summary: A promising start, but ultimately a letdown.
(This write-up contains spoilers.)
Judging by the first few minutes, I Love Huckabees looked like it
was going to be similar to a Philip K. Dick novel or a Charlie Kaufman
film. It promised to unravel layers of reality and shock the viewer
with what lay underneath.
The problem is, I Love Huckabees doesn't really have enough plot or
even intrigue to sustain a full length film. Instead of questioning
reality and posing awe inspiring questions about the nature of the
universe, it presents the viewer with two characters representing
the balance of the all-encompassing connections of the universe, and
a third character representing a nihilist. These personifications
of philosophical viewpoints do little more than try to sway the
regular characters to their way of thinking, with exaggerated results.
Even accepting the film as an analogy (which isn't easy to do when
movies such as The Princess Bride can be both an interesting analogy
and a gripping literal story at the same time), it has such a cliched
ending that I was reminded of several episodes of South Park, not
to mention Demolition Man: after the conflict between the two opposing
factions reaches its climax, everyone suddenly realises that the
best path lies between their two extremes, in the middle ground.
Well, I've sure learned something today.
Although it's kind of interesting to see what a film written by a
philosophy student would look like, I Love Huckabees falls short of
having anything truly profound to say that can't be picked up in a
beginner's guide to philosophy. If you really wanted to hear philosophical
ideas without having to read a book, you'd probably be better
off watching Waking Life, which has no pretense of a plot or story.
Having said all that, watching this refreshingly original film is
still preferable to revisiting the well trodden path of endless mind
numbing sequels, so although I didn't really find it fulfilling, I
think it's great that Hollywood is still occasionally trying out new
ideas. Just because this film didn't work out so well, doesn't
mean they should give up. If the screenplay writers learn as much
about storytelling as they know about the meaning of life, they might
make a good film yet.