Parents' Guide to

Expedition Happiness

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Road trip docu shows German couple's search for happiness.

Movie NR 2017 96 minutes
Expedition Happiness Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 9 parent reviews

age 11+

Vanity project

They saw the dog was suffering in the heat but decided to carry on through Death Valley and then Mexico?! Then they criticise people about how their animals are kept. And of course everyone in Mexico is out to plant drugs on their bus. I gave it 1 star because i was just so happy the dog made it home.

This title has:

Too much consumerism
age 8+


I like this movie I am also fond of travelling My question is about police guards in mexico what they are doing around the bus when they have nothing to ask anything..?. Is there any further planning to start the journey from where they stopped or not Thanks

This title has:

Too much consumerism

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (9):
Kids say (1):

This documentary is little more than 96 minutes with two German city kids who are tired of their cool, big-city Berlin loft and long for fresh air, nature, and new experiences. While they're both enthusiastic and charming, their film offers no special insights into the countries they visit, nor into themselves, for that matter. The photography is lovely and Taibi's often haunting music provides most of the soundtrack. It's great to see sea turtles in the wild and bats fluttering through caves, and moose and bear foraging, but neither Starck nor Taibi make what they show us any more interesting than it would be to look at stock nature footage.

The notion that young Europeans yearn for the great outdoors to feed souls that might otherwise be dampened by crushing city living isn't new, but that doesn't mean that there is nothing to enjoy here. Starck loves sports and travel and made a previous film of his one-year, around-the-world bicycle trek called Pedal the World. And Taibi's enthusiasm for pristine natural surroundings is uplifting, but their spontaneity demonstrates a naivete that allows them to "discover" that driving thousands of miles is more exhausting than they'd imagined. Likewise, the roads are worse than expected. An old bus has mechanical problems. A mountain dog is going to have trouble in the heat of the desert. Brakes melt in Death Valley heat. When the water tank falls off the bus from driving Mexico's pitted roads, and they have no tools to fix it, Felix observes that things "can't be any worse." Really? Plus, there's little real dramatic tension here. And although this is mostly well-edited, when one instance of actual drama occurs -- the dog becomes extremely ill -- the subject is left hanging. Later, we see the dog seems to have recovered, but without any further comment. The pair notes that they wrote the credits, complete with typo, five minutes before Expedition Happiness's premiere.

Movie Details

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