Hector and the Search for Happiness
Listen, if I’m going to sit through Eat Pray Love for dudes I’m going to want way more tanks, nudity, Vegas buffets and duking it out. Not a film that’s just an odyssey linking various cutesy inspirational memes with each other. This is one of the most boneheaded guy-centric romantic comedies I’ve ever seen.
When psychologist Hector (Simon Pegg) feels he’s a hypocrite for telling others how to be happier without knowing how to do the same for himself, he decides the path of a 22-year-old bachelors grad is the one for him, and backpacks across the globe to experience the life. This journey goes to such exotic locations as Shanghai, Africa and the United States of America. Armed with a sketchbook and zero clue, Hector ventures the globe to learn enlightening concepts like money can’t buy you happiness and ignorance is bliss.
Peter Chelsom’s first film since 2009’s Hannah Montana: The Movie (which explains why some scenes feel better suited for a direct-to-DVD children’s film) is so tone deaf that, when Hector is taken prisoner by African drug peddlers (actually) who then laugh at his precious notebook of discoveries, you wonder if it was intended that the audience might find themselves identifying with the villains. As white and male as a journey can get (including aspirations for overseas sex, since his girlfriend (Rosamund Pike) gives him a hall pass that he can’t go 24 hours before trying to cash) Hector’s Happiness Safari portrays a world where the most obvious emotional ideas to a teen Tumblr user are complete mysteries to a well paid feelings expert. All the while belittling a global culture here and there.
Except Los Angeles. Los Angeles is mostly driving scenes, which I guess is somewhat accurate. (Zack Kotzer)
Sunday, September 7th, 8:45pm, Winter Garden Theatre
Monday, September 8th, 4:15pm Scotiabank Theatre 4