Monday, July 2, 2012

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Get out your Doomsday clocks, we're reviewing Seeking a Friend for the End of the World!

When the end of the world is immanent, two strangers, Dodge(Steve Carell) and Penny(Keira Knightly), team up to go on a journey to find Dodge's first love and Penny's family. Can they find happiness before the world's end?

The first problem I have is with the premise of the movie. In real life, I very much doubt the governemnt would tell us the world was ending so much time in advance. I'm sure they'd try to keep it under wraps as long as possible to keep from starting riots that would almost certainly destory the world before any kind of asteroid came. The second problem I had is this is basically the same movie as Last Night in which the world is ending, people have lots of sex, and two random characters meet.

This is basically every other romantic comedy but everyone dies at the end.  I was hoping they would focus more on the dark humor of the apocalypse, and while there are some funny moments to be had, they completly abondon it mid-way through to focus on the romantic relationship between Dodge and Penny. You could walk in half-way through the movie and think this is any other road trip romantic comedy until five minutes before the end.

Really, the best parts of this are the ones which focus on the ridiculousness of the end of the world and the dark humor it entails. This includes the over-frenidly patrons at Friendzies and a dinner party which quickly turns itno an orgy with hard drugs("Dave brought Heroin!").  I wish Penny and Dodge had run into more of these colorful characters in their travels.

This movie is dificult becuase on one hand it's very moving and on the other hand it's really dumb. Near the end I was close to tears as it's really touching in their final moments.  Dodge has some generally loving things to say to Penny and that whole idea of loving someone at the end is really moving. On the other hand, it's hard to take that seriously when you can't really understand how or why they fell in love with each other. Apperently, you fall in love when someone is doing a monologue while the camera slowly pans in.  But why they fall in love with each other is beyond me.

Dodge is the most boring character in the world. They could focus on anyone in the apocalypse, and they decide to go with the insurance salesman who'd rather cry in the bathtub than enjoy himself at an end-of-the-world party. I like Steve Carell as a serious actor, and I know he can pull it off with movies like Little Miss Sunshine and Crazy Stupid Love, but here his character isn't even intersting. And Keira Knightly, who I don't usually like, really has some incredibly emotional acting in here. She has a great emotional range and I love the way she speaks. But it's hard to beleive anyone would love her character, who is basically a bi-polar insane wreck of a person. She cries all the time, is very selfish and does crazy stupid things. I can kind of see that they were trying to get this whole "opposites attract" kind of feel, but like every other romantic comedy, it's hard to see how these two would fall for each other, especially in the short time they share. 

There are a couple of things that don't make sense or don't get explained towards the end. They basically both abondon their respectave quests in the third act, with little reason why, which is annoying. Honestly, it feels like they ran out of budget to do apocalyptic stuff or pay for quirky characters half-way through the movie, or else someone thoguht they should put the comedy part in the first half and the romantic half in the second. 

Overall, it's alright. Depending on how you feel about romantic comedies, you'll either think it's very moving or very dumb. There are some great dark humor moments and funny characters and then it goes straight into romantic territory. Be warned, this is how the world ends. Not with a laugh, but with a slow pan in while the Smiths play. 

THE GOOD: Some funny apocalyptic humor here and there with funny actors, can be moving, everyone dies at the end.

THE BAD: overly romantic in the second half, when did the fall in love? Dodge is the most borign character in the world. 

THE VERDICT: $$$ Maybe see it. If you're moved by romantic movies and you like a bit of dark humor, you may enjoy this. If you can't stand the sap, don't bother.

MOVIES LIEK IT: Last Night, Crazy Stupid Love, any other romantic movie.

ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: Driving through the suburbs and having a nice time at the beach with a random family. That's kind of interesting how they'd spend their last moments, but you'd be forgiven for thinking this wasn't the end of the world.

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