Written and Directed by Lorene Scafaria
Starring Steve Carrell, Keira Knightley and Martin Sheen
Penny: What is it about the end of the world that brings them all out of the woodworks?
SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD gives new meaning to the term, “Disaster Movie”. Within moments of the film’s opening, it is announced that the world is coming to its inevitable end. This piece of information would ordinarily be pretty crushing, given that one of the very few things we all share in common is that we live on this planet. But the world that first time feature filmmaker, Lorene Scafaria (writer of NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST), is not like any world I know at all. In fact, it is so unfamiliar that I ended up feeling nothing instead. A society that feels so false cannot possibly inspire any genuine emotion.
When the news hits that an asteroid will collide and destroy Earth, and that all attempts to avoid this fate have failed, Dodge (Steve Carrell) is sitting in a parked car with his wife (played by Carrell’s real life wife, Nancy). She opens her door, gets out of the car, and without even looking in her husband’s direction, she takes off as fast as she can through a park. Dodge does not follow. He is devastated but what is he to do? Clearly, all the rules have changed now that there are only weeks to live. This is not so clear to everyone though. As Dodge walks around in a stupor, albeit an understandable one, he is surrounded by people who still go to work, go to the gym and go to dinner parties where annoying friends try to set them up on dates. It all felt so unnatural to me that I often wanted to yell at the screen to remind them all that the world was in fact coming to an end and they didn’t have time for all this stupidity.
Carrell is a great actor, capable of balancing sadness and comedy quite well, as is evidenced in films like, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE and DAN IN REAL LIFE, and he does his best here to keep SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD alive long enough for anyone to care the apocalypse is still coming. Sadly, this disaster proves too big of a match for him. It certainly doesn’t help him any that he is paired opposite Keira Knightley, who, while lovely, is thoroughly mismatched opposite Carrell. Embarking on their road trip to help Dodge find his childhood sweetheart is uncomfortable and awkward to say the least. I would never in a million years choose to spend my final days on Earth with these two. It was hard enough to spend an hour and a half with them.