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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014)


Dude, you’re married to Rosamund Pike. How much more happiness do you seriously need?

London psychiatrist Hector (Simon Pegg) feels like his life isn’t as fulfilling as he would like for it to be. Sure, he’s got a nice job, a nice house, and an even nicer wife (Rosamund Pike), but for some odd reason, he feels like that there’s something more to his life. And if he doesn’t find out what that is, he won’t fully be happy. So, of course with the permission of his wifey-poo, Hector sets out an globe-spanning adventure that takes him all around the world and allows for him to meet some of the most interesting people he’d never have the chance to meet, had he stayed in his boring, posh life in London. However, whenever one travels to a new place that they’re not quite familiar with, they of course run into certain problems with people who don’t take too kindly to tourists – aka, exactly who Hector is. This leaves Hector in many life-or-death situations where he has to take into consideration that sometimes, the life you’re dealt, isn’t so bad at all. So stop whining!

Most of the reviews I’ve read for Hector and the Search for Happiness have been basically calling this, “the indie Secret Life of Walter Mitty“. And while that’s not entirely incorrect, it’s still ill-advised for someone who was actually a fan of Ben Stiller’s piece (such as myself); while the movie wasn’t perfect, there was a certain layer of sweetness that helped the movie get by some of its more dodgy spots. Not to mention, it also had me look at Stiller, the director, in a different light than ever before.

Such an adventure ahead of him. And yet, I could care less.

Such an adventure ahead of him. And yet, I could care less.

But that’s besides the point because Mitty is definitely a better movie than Hector, which isn’t to discredit the later’s leading-man at all. In certain aspects, Simon Pegg is a lot charming and lovable than Stiller, but for some reason, he’s absolutely insufferable here. Pegg’s not doing anything different from what we’ve seen him do before, but the character of Hector, is so dull and thinly-written, that there’s a certain feeling of anger I began to feel with this character. He’s already a whiny mope as it is, with practically everything one could want in life, and yet, he still finds enough time to piss and complain about it, acting as if there’s more to life than living in upper-class society.

Just saying, bud, but many people would be happy to live the life you’re living.

So yeah, already this movie’s not working for me, and then, the plot continues on and once I realize that everywhere Hector goes to, he’ll be involved with some sort of life-threatening situation, my interest was lost. Not only was it unbelievable that Hector himself would just randomly get thrown into these deadly situations for no reason or another than to move the plot along, but the movie never treated them as seriously as they should have to really make it feel like, holy crap, Hector could literally die, right in front of our faces, and we’d be spending the rest of the day in absolute shock and despair. But nope, instead, the movie cracks a smile, even when there’s an AK-47 directly staring them in the face.

For instance, take the whole sequence in the later-half when Hector ends up in Africa – a region of the world that movies such as these love to show as desolate, crime-ridden war-lands. Without getting into the intricacies of what lands Hector there in the first place, basically, he gets kidnapped and taken in by a bunch of thugs, where he is then imprisoned, questioned about his recent whereabouts, and threatened with death, so much so that he’s actually thrown into an execution position. I don’t know about you, but to me, that sort of stuff is not funny. Just go on LiveLeak and you’re bound to find plenty of real, downright disturbing videos of the same thing happening to someone, for no reasons whatsoever.

You're leaving that at home?!?!?

You’re leaving that at home?!?!?

However, the movie thinks differently. Much rather, it thinks that coming close to executing someone is rich with humor, so they treat it as something of a joke. As a result, too, Hector himself does the same and spends the rest of the movie acting as if it had never happened; as if, oh, well, you know, it was all a pure coincidence that was meant to happen so that he could understand and appreciate life a whole lot more. Being dumped by my girlfriend and being kicked out of my apartment has me understand the meaning of life, as well as appreciate it a whole heck of a lot more, and that’s about it for me. I don’t believe I need to be blind-folded, kidnapped, threatened, and have a gun pointed in my face to make me think that.

But hey, that’s just me. I’m not Hector and thank heavens for that.

Basically, in case you haven’t been able to tell already, there’s not a lot going for Hector and the Search for Happiness. There’s hardly any comedy to be found whatsoever (even though the movie insists that there actually is), the melodrama is suffocating, and the message, isn’t just obvious, but ludicrous, especially when you consider all that Hector, the character, had to go through to get to that point in his life. The only moments of actual entertainment that can be found within this movie is whenever some odd-ball from the supporting cast shows up, and even then, they clearly seem to not have much to work with. The only one I can think of off the top of my head that really left any sort of impression whatsoever was Christopher Plummer and even then, I still wondered whether somebody shot him with tranquilizers beforehand to make him numb to the utter garbage he was forced to deliver.

Nobody should have to deliver this junk. Not Christopher Plummer. Not Simon Pegg. Not anybody.

Consensus: Everywhere it goes, everyone it meets, everything it experiences, Hector and the Search for Happiness wants you to enjoy the ride with them, but instead, it’s the kind of trip you wish you took alone, with no annoying Brits found anywhere in sight.

2 / 10 = Crapola!!

Drink up, Simon. And save me some. By the end of this, we'll both need it.

Drink up, Simon. And save me some. By the end of this, we’ll both need a few.

Photo’s Credit to: Goggle Images

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8 responses to “Hector and the Search for Happiness (2014)

  1. Colin Ashby February 7, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Bummer to see how mindless this film actually is. I thought about viewing it thinking “Oh, it’s definitely not a masterpiece but maybe it will provide for good viewing with Pegg and the different anecdotes throughout”. Not surprising to see that’s not the case. It seems like one of those films that can never really pick a stance on what it wants to convey to viewers, it’s just “here’s this, and this, and he’s trying to make humor out of difficult situations, and it shows how life has it ups and downs and in the end he returns home changed with a sense of direction!”.

    I kinda hate the trend a lot of “noteworthy” indie films are doing where they are dramedies trying to be thematic and big and they end up coming across as mindless and lacking any clear direction. Okay, maybe I’m starting to go off track, haha.

    Anyways, good review. I’ll skip this.

  2. Cirque Du Cinema February 7, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    This movie kinda passed me by…glad to hear I wasn’t missing out on too much.

  3. Brittani February 7, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Yikes It’s a shame to hear a movie with that great of a cast sucks so much. I will definitely avoid this one. Nice write up!

  4. Rodders February 7, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    “Dude, you’re married to Rosamund Pike. How much more happiness do you seriously need?”

    Ask Nick Dunne from Gone Girl.

  5. Consumed by Film February 7, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Haven’t heard too many great things about this, which is a shame because Pegg is such a talented guy. Good work Dan.

    Adam.

  6. rgagne February 8, 2015 at 4:11 am

    Aw shucks. I’m sorry you didn’t you like this movie because I thought it was leaps and bounds better than Walter Mitty. I hated Ben Stiller in that movie and the story was so stupid, I got really invested in Simon Pegg’s character, and cried for him while he was in prison. You wrote a solid review (like always) and I totally respect your take on the film.

  7. Big Screen Small Words February 8, 2015 at 5:33 am

    This movie was very disappointing, and is so far from Stiller’s Mitty. The characters were paper-thin and the charm of the book was completely wiped off from this. Good review.

  8. Victor De Leon February 19, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Wow. This sounds abysmal. I have it in my queue and now I know why I never got around to it. Thanks for the head;s up Dan!

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