Thoughts on… Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, 2012.

Written and Directed by Lorene Scafaria.
Starring Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, William Petersen, Melanie Lynsky and Adam Brody.

SYNOPSIS:

As an asteroid approaches Earth, a man decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart.

If you knew the world was coming to an end within a months time, how would you spend the last month of your life? In Seeking a Friend for the End of the World we follow Dodge (Steve Carell) and Penny (Keira Knightley) over the course of the final days before the world ends. Dodge’s wife left him right when word got out about the impending end of the world and he continues his day to day life until he finds a note from his high school sweetheart that makes him set out to find her before the world ends. He teams up with Penny, his neighbor who he’s never really met and they make a deal that she’ll take him to meet his sweetheart as long as he takes her to his friend who has a plane that can take her overseas to see her family.

This could have been either a clever comedy or a serious drama. Sadly the filmmakers try to do both and it only works in parts. The way the movie starts out you would think it’s a comedy but about halfway through they completely throw out any notion that this was ever a comedy and it turns into a full on drama. To me I thought the dramatic parts worked better than the comedy bits; some of it is funny but ultimately the jokes are very hit or miss. Had they decided to go one way or the other it could have been a better movie.

Thankfully, both Steve Carell and Keira Knightley give really great performances. This may be Carell’s most restrained performance (see also Hope Springs) and that really bodes well for the movie because we don’t need Michael Scott from The Office here. Knightley is as good as ever and it’s always great to see her on screen. The movie also boasts quite a stellar supporting cast, which essentially ends up being a bunch of cameos, including Patton Oswalt, Rob Corddry, Connie Britton, T.J. Miller, Martin Sheen and many more.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World suffers from major tonal shifts but the performances from Carell and Knightley carry the movie and the third act is very satisfying.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★

Jake Peffer

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