Cast:

Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette

Director:

Peter Chelsom

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Running Time:

119 mins

Rating:

M (Violence, offensive language)

Verdict:

Warm, sentimental and predictable dramedy.

The title gives a good indication of what to expect from this. Hector and the Search for Happiness is the story of Hector (Pegg) leaving his sheltered life as a well-to-do psychiatrist to travel the world in search of the meaning of happiness.

Off goes Hector, travelling through Asia, Africa and America asking the locals what it means to be happy.

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He records these in a leather-bound notebook given to him by a beautiful girlfriend (Pike) he's left behind. It's a personal and professional journey - how can Hector help people find happiness in their lives if he's not sure what happiness is?

Director Peter Chelsom uses some lovely touches, with illustrations and Michel Gondry-like puppets appearing randomly and transporting us from one place to another, but not quite enough to give a truly whimsical feel.

Pegg gives a performance full of warmth and energy, but it's tricky getting the tone spot-on in a film right trying to be philosophical, funny, dramatic and adventurous. It's not helped by the many stereotypical situations and characters Hector meets along the way, which make it feel a little like we're looking at snaps from his OE (Eat Pray Love style) rather than sharing his life-changing journey.

It's filled with good intentions; the idea of looking beyond your backyard for a fresh perspective is well-meaning, as is the notion that happiness means different things for different people.

Those who like "life-affirming" sayings will find plenty to like, and while it doesn't quite come together as a whole there are more than enough lovely moments to reflect on.

- TimeOut