In ensemble films, the credits often come up in alphabetical order. This can create a few problems with nominal star billing, but promotes the idea that all the actors are equal and were just part of a big gang in filming. Nevertheless the big stars covet the first named position and the last. Does this explain the relatively wilful (if serendipitous) casting in I Heart Huckabees? Somehow Dustin Hoffman (probably the biggest name in the picture since Mark Wahlberg’s star fell) manages to get the top spot. Wahlberg gets the last. You cannot review a film on the alphabetical distribution of its stars’ surnames, but it might explain why Tippi Hedren’s part was not expanded.

The film itself is either
a) plenty fun, or
b) intensely annoying.

Being a film where two separate philosophical extremes battle themselves out, this polarisation of its audience is probably apt. Certainly there are plenty of sequences of dialogue which make absolutely no sense, and the philosophical positions (ranging from a softly determinist holism to nihilism*) are not particularly mind blowing. But just an engagement in such ideas marks Huckabees out as a bit of fun. In Down and Dirty Pictures Peter Biskind suggested that David O.Russell’s Three Kings was the most important film of the nineties. This is a remarkably contentious suggestion, and one which will not be repeated for Huckabees. It does not stop it being a whole mess of fun. (Or remarkably annoying, if you fall into that camp).

*The best philosophical idea to come out of Egypt.