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Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

June 24, 2012

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World or (SFEW) is a neat little film that attempts something wonderful. It attempts to spark a romance amidst the chaos of apocalypse. However, the spark has all the subtlety of two rocks smashing together. What should have been a nifty natural film feels forcefully scripted.

The biggest problem with this film is Steve Carell. I am a big fan of Carell and dug his work in 40 Year Old Virgin, Anchorman, Crazy Stupid Love and Dan in Real Life.  However, in this film his depressed shlub is like an anchor that keeps the movie from starting a journey. In the film he plays a dour yet incredibly well dressed man whose wife left him and now he is alone. He isn’t into the heroin fueled love/alcohol fests that his friends have been throwing. He instead goes to work and mopes around his house and laments on his lost love. Another strange thing about his character is that he wears perfectly tailored outfits throughout the movie. Here is a man who has given up yet still manages to primp himself.

If Carell is the anchor then Keira Knightley is the buoy keeping this movie afloat. She provides a three-dimensional woman who could have been a pixie waif in a world that doesn’t understand her. However, Her problems seem real and all she wants is to see her family whom she has neglected in her pursuit of wrong men.

I was hoping this film would break out of its scripted purgatory and become an organic little movie where two people fall in love while on a journey. However, it all feels so scripted with its various vignettes of life before the meteor. The following proceedings feel like cheeky moments from a writers brain. The best moment of the road trip takes them across TJ Miller and his crew at Friendly’s. A restaurant that happily serves donut burgers until the eventual block of rock destroys them.

I dig how the story is about two people who are staying away from the craziness. They don’t want to be part of the orgies, heroin or riots. However, their intimate journey never feels right because of the opposing acting styles. When they do get together it feels forced and inevitable. The relationship isn’t earned, it is expected much like the deadly meteor. This is a sad chain of events because you really want to like the movie.

When a major aspect of the movie feels fake it hurts the rest of the movie. The movie is about finding a partner before the world ends. However, there is never anything at stake other than eventual death. Thus, when the world does end the emotional impact isn’t what it should be because it never felt real.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World could have been a wonderful film. Instead, it features a fantastic performance by Keira Knightley and an interesting take on armageddon.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. johnleavengood permalink
    June 24, 2012 2:51 pm

    When I first saw the trailer I approached it with all caution normally reserved for a collarless pitbull in an alley. I kept my distance and avoided sudden movements. Your review confirms my reservations. I’ll gladly watch this when it swings by HBO in hopes that Keira keeps me afloat as she did you.

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