A soldier introduces himself to the Peterson family, claiming to be a friend of their son who died in action. After the young man is welcomed into their home, a series of accidental deaths seem to be connected to his presence.
When their father passes away, four grown siblings are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens.
Similar to this film's poster, Simon Pegg carries the movie. "Hector and the Search for Happiness" brings a very inspirational yet predictable message, one that is very refreshing to see and hear in a film today among others. Unfortunately, many other aspects of the film bring it down.
The film follows Hector, a psychiatrist who, after finding himself unhappy with his life and work, decides to embark on an indie film adventure across the world to find what happiness truly means. He travels through different continents, conveniently meeting people along the way to enlighten him.
Simon Pegg is great as always; he IS Hector and it is a joy to watch his acting in all the scenes. Nothing else really impresses though. All the other characters, while performed fine by the cast, are just there to provide another piece of information in Hector's definition of happiness. They aren't really fleshed out so you don't care much for them; Hector goes from place to place and just conveniently meets these friendly people who are able to help further the plot.
Needless to say, the writing is quite cheesy, often consisting more of inspirational quotes rather than dialogue. Additionally, I found the film to be not very cohesive. All in all, each scene/location Hector went to felt more like individual short films (which by themselves were fine) rather than one, connected piece. At times, there were some decent and touching scenes, but the overall story was all over the place. It starts out as a comedy, then an inspirational travel movie, suddenly bringing in a dark and serious tone, then turning into a romance, etc. Again, individual scenes work well at times, but I feel the emotional tone of the film is disjointed. It does not help that the cinematography looks like a low budget home movie at times.
Still, there is a very true and beautiful message that the film provides. While trite, this idea of happiness in today's society is very nice to see. Ultimately though, Hector has a great concept but is brought out with poor execution. RATING: [5/10]
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