Happiness is…not watching this film.
Simon Pegg plays stuck-in-a-rut head shrinker Hector. As for the plot, well…see title. Abandoning long-term girlfriend Clara (an exceptionally unappealing turn from Rosamund Pike) to jet-set across the globe on a whim, Hector embarks on a fecklessly callow ‘research trip’ to try and find out what makes people happy.
The whimsical promise of the first 20 minutes is soon jettisoned in favour of a series of trite, predictable and ultimately cloying conclusions via a series of fundamentally horrifying experiences. Exhibit A: when a prostitute is beaten and effectively kidnapped by her pimp in front of him, Hector appears to be more upset by the fact that the devastatingly attractive woman was paid to spend time with him, undermining his previously chipper conclusion that happiness might be ‘loving more than one woman’.
Indeed, if Hector’s search for happiness teaches us anything, it’s just how lucky some of us are to be afflicted by rich world problems (worst thing to happen to me last week, apart from this movie? Overcooked scallops. Tragic) rather than real ones like, say, forced prostitution. As he stumbles from continent to continent having brief encounters with everything from drug lords to paramilitary groups, the overwhelming message is that happiness is being able to catch the next flight out of whatever craphole a rich Westerner might inadvertently find themselves in.
A shallow, witless waste of a film whose only redeeming quality is that it’s less (just) than two hours long.