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Seeking a Friend for the End of the World


seeking a friend poster

You’ve got three weeks before an asteroid collides with Earth, ending life as we know it. What do you do? Do you take on your bucket list and finally go see that picture perfect place? Maybe you attack life with the reckless abandon you always dreamed of but never enacted due to a fear of breaking societal norms. Whatever it is, I’m sure it is more interesting than the three weeks Dodge (Steve Carell) and Penny (Keira Knightley) take on in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.

Grade:

D+

When Dodge’s wife (played by Carell’s actual wife) literally runs away from him, he is stuck in a rut with only three weeks to live. He visits other friends for his final goodbyes, as they begin attempting to enjoy all life has to offer (e.g. heroin and orgies). He meets newly-single Penny, whose only goal is to see her family back in England. The pair decides to reunite Dodge with his high school flame and find her a plane back to see her parents.

It is not good news when the most interesting events are those occurring in the background and not those being initiated by our protagonists. Carell seems inclined to choose despondent, dour roles when not ankle-deep in raunchy gags. Dodge is removed from the world already and sulks his way through 80% of the movie. Sadly, we are given no reason to root for him to find happiness.

seeing a friend 1

From the background characters it seems there are only a few choices when faced with three weeks to live. First, you can seek shelter and try to survive, even if death is an absolute certainty. Second, you can enjoy your time in a manner that fits your personality—spend it with family, meet people without inhibitions, etc. Finally, you can just wait it out…like our hero.

As a result of this complete detachment from intrigue, or life, any spark for vivacious activity is left in the petite hands of Penny. Yes, she is spunky, eccentric and affable, but nothing about her really ignites any outside interest. That is, apart from the numerous times her ex-boyfriends mention their regret at letting her go. Even with this information, the chemistry between Carell and Knightley is minimal at best. They hardly have any connection and seem like the two would only be minor acquaintances on set, let alone leads in a film.

seeking a friend 2

Frankly speaking, the only real reason I paid attention throughout was to see if the filmmakers actually stuck to their guns and killed everyone at the end. Apart from that, not much keeps the film going. It’s indie through and through, but lacks that charm or charisma required to make it an “indie darling.” I don’t consider myself the adventurous type, but I have faith my final three weeks on this earth—assuming enough health and wherewithal to be mobile—would be more entertaining and productive.

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