Title: Seeking a Friend For The End of The World
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Cast: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Melanie Lynskey, Nancy Carell, Mark Moses, Roger Aaron Brown, Rob Huebel, Adam Brody, Rob Corddry, Patton Oswalt, T.J. Miller, Gillian Jacobs and Martin Sheen
What would you do if the world were ending in two weeks? Would you quit your job? Would you leave your wife? Would you try everything imaginable just once? These are some of the questions explored in “Seeking a Friend For The End of The World,” only the added twist to this premise is trying to find the love of your life at the end of your life. Putting an interesting additive to an overwrought romantic comedy is pretty clever but the end it leaves you unsatisfied and makes you wish you spent your precious time elsewhere.
The story follows Dodge (Steve Carell), an insurance salesman whose wife (Nancy Carell) just leaves him upon news of the inevitability of the end of existence. Dodge sleepwalks through his day while his friends and co-workers spend their last days of life fulfilling all of their wild dreams. He’s at a moral and ethical crossroads. Should he run amuck like his friends and neighbors? Or should he stay true to himself and try to find a deeper meaning? Much is left to the existential questions that surround this film, which makes the events the film quite trivial. Smartly, the film grounds itself in the central romance between Dodge and his neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley). But when this important element is introduced, it’s too late for the film to find its footing. Once the pursuit of romance commences, the film loses its way making everything before it inconsequential and meaningless.
The point of the movie is to bring these two people together, then why placate romantic comedy tropes to do so. It makes no sense when the threat that is keeping this couple apart is the universe. We are all doom so why not take the cleverness of the premise one step further by being clever with their romance. It just seems lazy when it’s set up to be industrious. Steve Carell and Keira Knightley do a fine job bringing life into this lifeless film but its supporting characters are overly cartoonish and smug that it’s just hard to stay involved when everything around you is falling apart.
“Seeking a Friend For The End of The World” is a disappointment in the shadow of its intriguing premise. By devolving into a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy it leaves a lot to stay involved. As much as Steve Carell and Keira Knightley elevate this material, it still falls hard with an impact that is not cataclysmic.