TIFF Journal: ‘Hector and the Search for Happiness’

'Hector and the Search for Happiness'

Movie Rating:


‘Hector and the Search for Happiness’ just might be the breaking point for anyone willing to follow Simon Pegg to any project based on his talent, track record and likeability. This maudlin, tiresome and hopelessly lost attempt at feel-good claptrap is like an endurance test for Pegg fans.

This is the type of movie that one of the characters from Pegg’s collaborations with Edgar Wright could spend hours mocking mercilessly, and it’s a tremendous waste of resources for everyone involved. Perhaps that’s too harsh. It’s safe to say that no one involved in ‘Hector and the Search for Happiness’ wanted to make a piece of garbage. Chances are that they all hoped to make a magic realist fairy tale like ‘Amélie’, but ended up learning just how difficult it is to pull off something so seemingly light and fluffy.

Pegg stars as a depressed therapist who can’t figure out how to be happy or what makes people happy. So he does what only dumb characters in crappy feel-good movies do, and sets out on a worldwide trip to find the cause of happiness. He ends up spending stupid sums of money in China with a businessman, gets kidnapped in Africa, learns obvious lessons about charity, and finally runs into Christopher Plummer in an embarrassing role as a happiness scientist.

Now, I don’t want to spoil things and mention whether or not the secret to happiness just might be the obvious true love that Pegg left behind to embark on his quest, but… ahh, who cares? If you haven’t figured out why this movie fails based on the plot description alone, then I can’t help you. This is a movie only for people on hefty doses of antidepressants and/or who own a large personal library of self-help books.

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