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'Hector and the Search for Happiness': Fool's errand

Simon Pegg stars in Relativity Media's Hector and

Simon Pegg stars in Relativity Media's Hector and the Search for Happiness. Credit: MCT / Ed Araquel

Every movie is about somebody's search for happiness, even if it's just the person who wrote the check. So a movie bearing as faux-naive a title as this has to make a pretty good case for itself. This it decidedly does not do.

But one has to ask, who is this movie's audience? People with real problems? Or the few who can sympathize with a prosperous London psychiatrist (Simon Pegg), with a beautiful home, flourishing career and a girlfriend who looks like Rosamund Pike (it is Rosamund Pike) and yet who for one reason or another can't be satisfied. Who has gotten to the point where he screams at his (admittedly) self-absorbed patients. And who has the wherewithal to take off for several months of touring the globe to find out what makes other people happy, with the expectation it will make him happy, too?

A physician with as little empathy or insight as Hector should be emptying bedpans, but instead we get to watch him as he meets a hedonistic millionaire (Stellan Skarsgård), a happy Shanghai hooker (Ming Zhao), a French drug lord (Jean Reno) and scientist studying the cell structure of bliss (Christopher Plummer), all of whom impart to Hector nuggets of philosophical hogwash that might have come from the as-yet-unpublished "Zen for Dummies."


PLOT A discontented London psychiatrist abandons his patients and girlfriend for a globe-trotting search for satisfaction.

RATING R (for language and some brief nudity)

CAST Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgard

LENGTH 1:54

BOTTOM LINE Torturous

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