Movie Review: Hector and the Search for Happiness


Release Date: 8/14/14

I like Simon Pegg, and I thought he was very good in this role.  Hector and the Search for Happiness was very funny at times.  Yet, I wasn’t crazy about this movie and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Pegg plays a psychiatrist.  He is caught in a rut and is unhappy, so he goes on a world-wide trip to find out what makes people happy.  He befriends people on plane rides, in hotel bars, in Japanese nightclubs and asks them what makes them happy.  He compiles a list in his notebook.  Some of the sayings are profound, some are wrong, some are what unhappy people think would make them happy.  I don’t know that “preachy” is the right word, but it is the only one I can come up with to describe how I felt about it.  I knew where the producers were leading us and almost got a “be happy with what you have vibe.”  [That can be taken both positively and negatively.  I took it negatively.]

[spoiler alert] I was a bit confused at the end.  Pegg undergoes a brain scan and we are told that Pegg’s emotions are blocked.  Then his emotions are magically unblocked when he gets a call from his girlfriend.  Why?  I would have thought the near death experience would unblock them.  He spoke to her a couple times through Skype during his journey, why didn’t his emotions “unblock” then?  Maybe I had a hard time believing that what made Pegg happy was his girlfriend, when the very first night he was away from her, he cheated on her.  The very first night.  [/spoiler alert]

So far I have given Hector and the Search for Happiness a negative review, but perhaps I read too much into it.  Maybe if I just sat back and watched it I would have been entertained by a funny movie.  (Though the funniest bit felt like it was straight from a Mr. Bean sketch, not that there’s anything wrong with that.)  I’ll give it a passable rating, with the thought that most people will find this an uplifting, funny, lighthearted movie.

WWYT Rating: 6.49

IMDB Rating: 6.9


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