Hector And The Search For Happiness, film review: Simon Pegg holds whimsical but affecting' comedy-drama together

(15) Peter Chelsom, 120 mins Starring: Simon Pegg, Stellan Skarsgård, Rosamund Pike, Toni Collette
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The ever-likable Simon Pegg holds together this whimsical but affecting comedy-drama about a London-based psychiatrist pondering the metaphysical meaninglessness of existence.

Hector (Pegg) is a buttoned-up sort of chap with a very compartmentalised life. In search of contentment and new adventure, he bids goodbye to his beloved (Rosamund Pike) and embarks on his own eccentric version of a Grand Tour. He encounters Asian prostitutes, Buddhist monks, gun-runners, aid workers and his old girlfriend, who is now married with kids.

The film plays like a slightly more grown-up version of a Tintin adventure, which the director Peter Chelsom acknowledges with a few references to Hergé's tufty-headed detective. Pegg's sure-footed performance is comic enough to keep the mawkishness at bay, but also soulful and serious enough to make us believe in his eccentric quest.