Hector and the Search for Happiness

Director: Peter Chelsom
Year Released: 2014
Rating: 1.5

English psychiatrist Hector (Simon Pegg) leaves his long-term girlfriend (Rosamund Pike) to go on a search "for what makes people happy" over several continents (in order, he claims, to be better at his job) - after sleeping with a Chinese prostitute (Ming Zhao), meeting a drug kingpin (Jean Reno) and a monk (who uses Skype!), getting imprisoned by African criminals and reuniting with an old girlfriend (Toni Collette) he realizes happiness is what he left behind (surprise!). The shovels onto its audience some cheap pop psychology with some broad, frankly obvious "advice," and as someone who's done a fair amount of traveling, believe me when I say: if you try to run away from problems, they're always waiting for you back where you left them. Pegg's at least a good sport about it - always the clown - and he tries his best in the movie's many clumsily orchestrated scenes, particularly the one where his brain is wired up to Professor Christopher Plummer's 'happiness machine' and suddenly everything is 'unlocked' for him. Hector should be happy that, after his cheating and upper-class vanity tour, his lady friend stuck around: now there's a woman who deserves better.