Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Review
Posted by Tony Farinella on 06.26.2012
It's 2012 and the world is ending in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley!
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is yet another entry in the Steve Carell mopey, sad sack genre, joining the likes of Dan in Real Life and Crazy, Stupid Love. All three of the characters are essentially the same, and Carell has his shoulders stooped and a look of utter sadness and depression on his face. While itís clear that actors have to branch out and he canít always be seen as Michael Scott, some of his recent film choices are not showing off Carell at his finest. Itís just not enjoyable or fun to see Carell in these sorts of roles all the time now, as he is a great comedic talent that could be and should be doing more broad comedies that show off his considerable skills.
The film opens up with Linda, played by Nancy Carell, his real life wife, fleeing from Dodge (Steve Carell) upon learning that an asteroid is nearing earth and the world is about to end. This leaves him alone and feeling even more melancholy than usual, as he worries about dying alone. In an unusual meet cute, he stumbles upon a neighbor named Penny, played by Keira Knightley. Even though they have been neighbors for years, they barely have spoken during their time together in the building. Sheís dating a slacker played by Adam Brody, and their relationship is also coming to an end.
Dodge discovers that his mail has been accidentally going to Pennyís house, and some of the letters are quite personal and important, such as a letter from an old flame. With the world about to end, Dodge is wondering if maybe there is still a chance to get back together with his old flame, while Penny wants to return home to see her parents one more time. So itís sort of a road trip buddy comedy, even though the characters arenít really buddies, and an end of the world disaster film all in one. Itís sort of the anti-romantic comedy with no real happy ending in sight, due to the world ending.
Steve Carell is a clear talent in the world of comedy, as we have seen with such films as 40 Year Old Virgin, Anchorman, and of course his role on TVís The Office, which he performed for seven years. He is very funny and has incredible timing. Sadly, that side of his personality is hidden in this film, and heís simply a bore to be around, from start to finish. His co-star, Keira Knightley, is nails on the chalk board annoying in the role of Penny. Sheís one of those free spirit that everyone loves and wants to spend time with in the film, although I found her to be a chore and pretty annoying. These are good actors portraying bad characters.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is directed and written by Lorene Scafaria, who also wrote 2008ís charming Nick and Norahís Infinite Playlist. This film looks and feels a lot like Nick and Norahís Infinite Playlist, just replaced with Dodge and Penny. This film, however, lacks the energy and focus of Nick and Norahís Infinite Playlist and sort of meanders around aimlessly with no sense of direction. The film has individual scenes that are humorous and heartfelt, but those are few and far between, sadly. There is a cute movie dog that steals some scenes, a hip soundtrack, a solid supporting cast, but the meat and potatoes of the film is where it falls apart. This is all perfectly mediocre fare.
The 411: The talent on paper is there, in both the writer/director and the actors, but this is a film that just goes nowhere and is dead on arrival. For the good majority of it, itís boring and pointless, which is a real shame considering the talent involved in this project. The movie, as a whole, is just run of the mill. With so many options at the cinema right now, you need to be simply better than OK.