TIFF 2014 Review: Hector and the Search for Happiness
Despite being an utter fool, Hector himself possesses a bit of charm and intrigue; his titular quest, however is meandering and laborious, lacking much needed magic.
Hector (Simon Pegg), with his successful psychiatric practice, his beautiful, loyal, and equally successful girlfriend Clara (Rosamund Pike), and his safe, routine existence, feels something is lacking (but we know it really isn’t). He sets off across three continents, not really knowing where he is going, but deciding that he needs a ‘professional research expedition’ to find out what makes people happy. Sure, Hector.
All of this should be fun! It should be this capricious lark, this inspired journey of wanderlust to an intangible and maybe unattainable but ultimately satisfying destination. Instead, Hector is a awfully irritating trip.
You’d be hard-pressed to find anything the least bit delightful in this overlong, forced exercise in fortune-cookie wisdom. Hectors meets a colorful cast of characters, as the film occasionally plays cartoonish, trying to create something more mystical and storybook about his life. It just doesn’t add up to anything.
There is a tenuously continuing allusion to Hector’s childhood, where apparently the death of his dog traumatized him forever; I guess he always wanted to be Tintin.
Toni Collette appears late as an old flame, but her welcome presence seems wasted. She delivers the only meaningful speech; Hector still doesn’t quite get it, continues on, and the story plods to a predictable conclusion at which point you can only throw up your hands and get out.