Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

seeking-a-friend-at-the-end-of-the-world

I went into this picture thinking, “I bet I’m really gonna like this one!” And guess what? I kinda did. But let me tell you, kinda doesn’t score well. I love end-of-the-world-pre-apocalyptic stories as much as the next cynic, maybe more, but this one falls short. It’s like Homer Simpson almost jumping a gorge on a skateboard, except SAFFTEOTW didn’t make me laugh.

The film takes place during the last weeks of Earth’s existence because a giant meteor is about to lay the galactic smack-down on her pretty little orb. A loveless Dodge (Steve Carell) gets dumped by his wife and instead of dying alone he is fortunate enough to hook up with Penny (Keira Knightley). First it’s for happenstance, then it’s for survival, then it’s for…chicka-bang-bang. She wants to go home to her family in England but can’t, and he wants to reconnect with an ex-girlfriend (the one that got away) but like John Lennon sang: “life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans” and Dodge and Penny fall in love.

This movie doesn’t fixate on the end, or the misery, or the raping and murdering and streaking that I think would probably happen. Instead, it portrays humanity in generic-American-city as altruistic, peaceful and easy-going (just like the States is in real-life). Besides a mild riot, everyone is pretty nice in this movie, you would think it was set in Canada. This peaceful approach, Steve Carell’s boring quiet-acting and Keira Knightley’s quirkiness makes for a pretty irritating movie by the end. I usually like Miss Knightley, but her acting in this one was reminiscent of A Dangerous Method which I had to turn off because I was so sick of looking at her facial expressions. She makes these faces: the cry-face, the pouty-face, the optimist-face, throughout the film and they drive me up the fucking wall. Her quirkiness¬†comes off as nuts but not in a Milla Jovovich hot way, and when she cries…Oh, it’s just so hard to look at her!

For the Story I will give the movie a +1 as they failed the premise. They didn’t have to make it a horror film but they sure didn’t have to make everyone so nice. The Look gets a +1 because it didn’t do much in the way of look. Everything looked too shiny and new and while that matched the general niceness, it looked like a 70’s Disney movie. The Overall Casting scores a +2 because they had some heavy-hitters like Steve and Keira, William Petersen, Martin Sheen and T.J. Miller. The Commitment to Genre scores a +1 because this film failed the catastrophe genre as well as the comedy genre.

Subtotal: +5

I will grant SAFFTEOTW an extra +1 for the little kid drinking a martini and her dad saying “wait for the burn”. The film will lose a point (-1) for Penny carrying records around with her on the adventure. RECORDS…Really? Lastly, I will deduct another point (-1) for Dodge’s cleaning lady who continued to clean his apartment even though the world was coming to an end. When he asked her to stop coming she became upset, fearing he was firing her. At the end he returns to his apartment and she’s there again. It wasn’t funny and I’m not sure if the film was trying to say that she was just that stupid or that by not speaking English, she was oblivious that the world was ending. I will deduct another point (-1) for Dodge running from a blow-job while a restaurant full of wasted staff celebrated his fake birthday. Maybe that’s why they call him Dodge. What a douche. It’s the end of the world. You know, you could have that and Penny!

Total: +3.

http://youtu.be/pW_OyiUgW88

Note on the Trailer: In the trailer Keira Knightley says, “I won’t steal anything if you don’t kill me.” But in the film she says,¬†“I won’t steal anything if you don’t rape me.” It’s funny how they changed it for the trailer, as movie companies do, when the actual line is more poignant than it’s replacement.

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