Socrates declared that the unexamined life isn't worth living, but what of the life examined too closely? It might unravel, as starts to happen to the navel-gazing characters in this intellectually giddy comedy.
I Heart Huckabees gets laughs by dramatizing the stuff Philosophy 101 students stay up all night debating—namely, trying to understand the yawning gap between being and nothingness. In the movie, fellows (including Schwartzman, Law and Wahlberg) dissatisfied with their lives hire a husband-and-wife team (Hoffman and Tomlin) who bill themselves as the Existential Detectives. The duo, tape recorders and notepads in hand, follow their clients around, observing daily activities and social interactions, to see if they can discern patterns that might reveal the meaning of their customers' lives.
Not all the jokes work, and the film, written and directed by David O. Russell (Three Kings), at times veers too close to preciousness and self-delight. But most of the time Huckabees is just wacky and original enough that, at least while you're viewing it, you're sucked into its weird orbit. Besides, if the sight of Tomlin (in plunging necklines and chic heels) and Hoffman (with a Beatles hair cut) skulking around in the bushes fails to make you giggle, if s time to jump into the great abyss. (R)