HT Schuyler: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Review

Posted: June 28, 2012 by htschuyler in HT Schuyler's Movie Reviews

Rated 14A for language, drug use and violence.

Directed by: Lorene Scafaria.

Starring: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Mark Moses, Derek Luke, Rob Corddry, Patton Oswalt, Adam Brody, Connie Britton and Melanie Lynskey.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World tells the story of a middle aged man named Dodge (Steve Carell) who is depressed with life, and after his wife leaves him he decides to track down his high school love, on the way accompanied by a dog named Sorry and a young British girl named Penny (Keira Knightley). The three of them embark on a road trip, encountering many different characters, falling in love, and ultimately coming to terms with the meteor heading straight to Earth that will kill everyone in a few weeks. AND HILARITY ENSUES!

Steve Carell does something that I haven’t seen him do in a while, and that’s not play a comedy character. Dodge is so depressed, monotone and sad that it’s almost uncomfortable watching him, but he does a great job at it. He plays the character well enough that you feel his pain and sympathize with him a lot of the time, which is good because none of the other characters are particularly relatable. Keira Knightley is good as always, but her character is so loud and obnoxious that she becomes rather annoying at times. This is not a fault on Knightley’s performance, it’s just the character that she was given. She plays a good contrast to Carell’s super depressed figure, but she seems a little too larger than life for her own good, therefore making the emotional scenes with her feel a little out of place and awkward. Besides the two leads, few characters are on long enough to really stand out, but there are some good cameos and bit parts. Rob Corddry and Patton Oswalt have fun scenes, Mark Moses does a good job as a news anchor and Derek Luke has an interesting part, so overall everyone does a good job, each character they encounter playing a different role of how someone would react if they knew the world was going to end soon. Some drink their troubles away, others have as much sex as possible, and some train and make plans on survival and repopulating the planet. It’s a really interesting concept on how people would act in this situation, and the movie handles it fairly well, as all the characters play a good example of mankind’s behaviors, and it is interesting watching them.

The Good:

The movie starts off very strong. You’re introduced to the situation, the characters, the stakes, and how everyone is dealing with the world about to end. As the story progresses, there are some really good set pieces, such as a riot scene. There are some good lines here and there, and occasionally Carell will say something really funny just due to how morbidly depressed he is, and Keira Knightley will has a good line or two. There are some really effective scenes, especially the ending, and the movie contains a certain level of charm that really benefits it. Despite its depressing subject matter, the film handles everything very well, and has enough it in to like and enjoy, and to keep the viewer invested.

The Bad:

After the films very strong start, it completely shifts gears and suddenly goes into a dark comedy territory, before eventually just becoming straight up depressing at the end. You enter the movie in a good mood, and come out wanting to crawl up in a corner and cry. I do realize this was intentional, and I give the filmmakers an immense amount of credit for doing what they did with the ending (even though some aspects of it seem a little illogical). Despite it playing a crucial role in the movie, I didn’t buy the love story, and it felt really forced and almost unnecessary. The movie could have been just as strong if the characters were just friends (as the title implies) but I suppose they felt they needed an extra something. Despite its average run time, I did find the movie dragged at moments, and certain scenes seemed unneeded and forced in, mainly to support the films love story.

In Conclusion:

Despite my flaws with the film, there’s also a lot to admire and enjoy. The whole concept is really interesting, and is handled fairly well. The leads do a good job, and there’s enough going on to keep the viewer curious until the end. A word of warning though, don’t go in excepting a light-hearted goofy comedy, cause you will be very disappointed with how everything turns out. If you feel you can handle some very depressing subject matter with a few laughs here and there, then I’d recommend it.

7/10

Comments
  1. ugh, disjointed movies disappoint me. but i am interested in this one.

  2. CMrok93 says:

    A totally uneven film, but somewhat lifted up by Carell and Knightley’s performances. Hopefully, Keira picks up more comedic roles for her because she’s actually pretty damn good at them believe it or not. Good review HT.

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