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David O. Russell’s best and boldest film yet is a comedy about the meaning of life, the nature of reality, the mystery of consciousness, and the elusiveness of infinity. Attacking impossibly vague and spacey concepts with the excitable restlessness of childlike inquiry (meditation is practiced in body bags and “pure being” is attained via a stiff smack to the head with a giant rubber ball), I Huckabees is a blithely profound mishmash of screwball Sartre and zany Zen, a euphoric bungee jump into the abyss of the Big Everything. A furiously depressed howl of liberal-left impotence that somehow lands on a grace note of provisional optimism, it could provide some pointers for the next four years—starting with the way it positions the very act of constant questioning as a life-saving rebellion. Splurge for the two-disc edition, which includes nearly two dozen deleted scenes, an infomercial featuring Robert Thurman and Jon Brion, and Brion’s “Knock Yourself Out” music video. Released March 8: Russell’s more overt election year salvo, Soldiers Pay, a queasy real-world follow-up to his Gulf War-set Three Kings.


Also worth considering:

Sex Is Comedy (MGM) Catherine Breillat’s brilliant dramatization of her own sadism on set. Basically a feature-length anatomy of a scene from Fat Girl; no extras.

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