Movie Review: Hector and the Search For Happiness (2014)

Posted: June 20, 2015 in Comedy, Drama
Tags: , ,

Hector and the Search for Happiness

Hector (Simon Pegg) is a psychiatrist who’s sick of his day to day life and sick of his overbearing girlfriend Clara. (Rosemund Pike)  Hector feels like he needs a little adventure in his life, so one day with very little notice, he takes  off and goes to China, where he meets a young Chinese student ,Ying Li, (Ming Zhao) who isn’t what she appears to be.  Hector also stays with monks at a Chinese monastery.

Still searching for that elusive happiness, Hector jets off to Africa to help his friend Michael (Barry Atsma) who runs a clinic there.  Hector takes a taxi and is kidnapped by a gang headed by a man named Marcel  (Anthony Oseyemi)  Hector is only saved because he helped a drug dealer named Diego Baresco. (Jean Reno)

Undaunted by the kidnapping attempt Hector goes to California to meet up with an old flame named Agnes. (Toni Collette) Hector is also there to help a professor, Professor Coreman, (Christopher Plummer) with a psychiatric experiment.  Does he finally find happiness in Los Angeles?

I like Simon Pegg, but I did not like this movie.  The scenes in China are contrived, everything is paid for by a rich businessman, and he lives like a king.  He meets a beautiful woman and they sleep together, but the woman turns out to work in Hollywood’s favorite profession and then abruptly the Chinese storyline is dropped with no resolution, the Chinese woman is little more than eye candy The African story is insulting and condescending, passengers on the plane are holding chickens, drug dealers and kidnappers populate this place and the only doctors in sight are Hector and his friend Michael.  The ending is sentimental drivel, and really is out of step with the tone of  rest of the movie. Once in a while, there is supposed to be a life affirming message, like Happiness is being loved for who you are.  That is not life-affirming, that’s something you find in a 5 cent fortune cookie. Pegg  did not write this movie, that much is obvious, it’s too trite for his writing style. The only affecting scene is with Hector on a plane to L.A. with a woman, hardly worth sitting through two hours, but sill well done.

Pegg the actor tries to play a nice white collar type, but it doesn’t work for him, he comes off as the ugly American or the ugly Westerner as the case may be, romping through the Third World, trying to find himself.  He is much more effective playing a blue collar drinking buddy type. Rosamund Pike better stop playing domineering shrews, like she does here and in Gone Girl, she is going to get typecast.  Toni Collette does a pretty convincing American accent for an Australian, and Christopher Plummer does some inconsequential scenes at the end of the movie.

The direction is nothing of note, although this director did Serendipity, one of my favorite romantic comedies.  Watch that, instead of this mid-life crisis of a movie.

Hector and The Search For Happiness.  Hector hectors and gets hectored in this forgettable journey.


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