FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE REVIEW: On Friday, I saw “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” which stars Steve Carell (The Way Way Back, Foxcatcher), Keira Knightley (Begin Again, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest), and Martin Sheen (The Vessel, Catch Me If You Can). It is written and directed by Lorene Scafaria (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, The Meddler). The end of the world is close, as earth’s inhabitants prepare for a cataclysmic meteor strike to break through their atmosphere. Amongst the people, one man, Dodge (Carell), sets out to be with an old flame one last time in order to make amends. However, he has to bring along a woman from his apartment complex, as she needs a ride to visit her family. Their travels to be with loved ones will create interesting situations.
Flipping through Netflix, I came across a feature that has escaped my grasp for a while now: “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.” Honestly, this hasn’t been on my mind nor have I ever wanted to see it. I’ve heard awful things about it, but being as how it was right in front of me and it stars both Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, it was hard to pass up. When it comes to apocalyptic entertainment, I am always up for the next entry. It’s a sub genre that can provide great character drives as well as interesting story arcs. So, why not give it a go? Having viewed this release, it’s hard to pin down what I think of it. This is an incredibly dry, dark humored film; a type that hardly anyone would appreciate. I expected this to be funny, but never anticipated how cynical it actually was. One concept this story knows how to tackle is the reaction of humanity to an oncoming meteor. Not everyone would form a riot because what could they possibly do? Sure, there were riots in this, but the bulk of human reactions surrounded around getting wasted and sleeping with the next person you meet. It’s chaos, yet some people keep themselves contained, such as Carell’s character Doge. The character development in this release was often shaky. Primarily it focuses on Doge and his incredibly crappy life, however the weight of the oncoming end-of-times takes a shape of its own. Any other figure, besides Keira Knightley, serves the purpose of offering jokes or pushing the plot along. These jokes were often hard to follow, specifically because of how dry they were. Usually I love dark comedy, but this film was hard to laugh at. In fact, the genre would even be difficult to define as a comedy, being as how it hits heavy on from a dramatic perspective. Throughout its runtime, I will say that I was confused as to what this film really was. We are given insight on a man’s life in a near-apocalyptic world, and how he forms a bond with a friend towards the end of human existence, however, I couldn’t really assess what was happening onscreen. Everything flies by fast. Our main protagonists must reach a certain destination to better themselves, while keeping each other company for the ride, but the dialogue used is often vague or filthy, doing little for the viewer to attach themselves to the plot. It wasn’t until the last thirty minutes that I become invested in the feature. That’s not to say that the entirety of the film was awful, for it was intriguing. I wanted to see the outcome of the main characters, even though I had an idea of where they would end up (it may have become cheesy, but I admit that I liked it). I just wasn’t too fond of the first act, which was slow to build momentum. Nothing seemed to connect until our characters bonded, which is either what the writers were going for or a failure. Overall, this movie is not for everyone. In my opinion, this wasn’t awful, but extremely vague and bland. Most of the jokes didn’t land and it wasn’t until the final act that this release grew on me. The conclusion itself would frustrate any typical moviegoer, and I will admit that it didn’t sink well with me. However, the bond between the two characters and their development are what saves it from being terrible (and those two pros are very strong). I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, but if you are willing to take a chance on a film, give this one a shot. FINAL SCORE: 69%= Burnt Popcorn
Here is the trailer: