Review: SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

As I watched this movie, I could relate, to a certain degree, to the Dodge (Steve Carell) character.  I mean, I have never been married, but for the most part unlucky in love.  If the world were on the verge of destruction, this would really help me take stock of my blessings—loving family, great friends, etc.  Still, to find someone to whom I could declare my love before the end would be truly amazing.  Sadly, I and lots of others feel a certain amount of apathy in our lives which only serves to hold us back from truly living and experiencing some of its greatest joys.  Even more sadly, it usually takes a tragedy or catastrophe to shake us out of this state and get us to pursue our dreams.  One of my favorite movies of all time, The Shawshank Redemption has a wonderful line which says, “Get busy living, or get busy dying.”  I feel that this pretty much summarizes the theme of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.

 When an asteroid headed for Earth threatens to wipe out all of humanity, people all over the world react in a variety of ways.  Some party like there’s no tomorrow, engaging in all the bad behaviors from which they once abstained, others decide to put their survival skills to use and seek shelter underground.  Dodge, an insurance agent, is not only in a state of shock, but also suffers from depression.  His wife Linda leaves him and quite frankly, he has no clue what to do or how to spend his final days.  After considering his marriage and past relationships, Dodge decides to seek out his high school sweetheart whom he would love to see before the asteroid strikes.  He and his quirky hipster neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) decide to hit the road and seek out his one time love. 

 Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist), the film combines a mix comedy, romance, and heartbreak.  It really is a sweet, lovable, quirky movie, but also a bit sad.  The story plays out mostly predictably with a few surprises here and there, but I easily determined early on what would happen.  Scarfaria has a lovely wit and writes some hilarious dark humor.  She skillfully puts a funny spin on Armageddon. That said; the film does drag in some parts, but thankfully this doesn’t last too long.  Seeking a Friend…also features a wonderful cast with some great appearances by some talented actors and comedians.

 Steve Carell does some fine work here as a sullen and depressed man, totally unsure of what to do in this situation.  To counter this sad pessimist character, Keira Knightley is absolutely adorable and amazing as Penny.  I can easily see how any man can fall for her character as she appears as a golden ray of sunshine in an otherwise dark time.   The movie mainly focuses on Carell and Knightley, but has some wonderful appearances by Mark Moses (News Anchor), Adam Brody (Owen), Connie Britton (Diane), Rob Corddry (Warren), Melanie Lynskey (Karen), and Patton Oswalt (Roache).  I also particularly enjoyed the cameos by William Peterson who portrays a trucker Dodge and Penny encounter on the road, and Martin Sheen as Frank. 

 I will recommend this movie as a lovely romantic comedy for a date night.  If not on a date, I’d recommend catching it as a matinee or on video.  As enjoyable as the movie is, the predictability and pacing issues hold me back from giving it a higher rating and recommendation.  I do really like the message, though.  It is nice to be reminded to take stock of what’s wonderful in my life and to not be afraid to live and take chances, because one doesn’t always know when the end is coming.      

 

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