Sunday, September 6, 2015
This movie should have been a lot better. It starts with a catchy scenario: a giant asteroid will obliterate the world in a few weeks. There are two charming actors, Steve Carell playing Dodge, a bitter loner whose wife has abandoned him, and Keira Knightly as Penny, a young Brit who has bad taste in men. Circumstances bring these two strangers together on a final adventure to re-connect with loved ones.
In this classic roadtrip format you expect a series of encounters with goofy personalities, punctuated by occasional episodes of terror and sentimentality. That's what you get, with a little patience.
There's nothing like the end of the world to put the important things in life in perspective. And you can't squander the opportunity to talk about it, and talk about it, and talk about it. If only it wasn't the same conversation over and over again.
To support these conversations, writer/director Lorene Scafaria strings together a series of quirkly episodes: they hitch a ride with a foreboding stranger, stumble into an orgy, and hang out at a beachside wedding factory. The closer they get to their objective, the more they question whether that was really what they needed after all.
To say that Seeking a Friend at the End of the World should have been better is not to say that it was bad. It's just too loose and episodic. And the relationship you expect to develop between this middle-aged schlump and a damaged twenty-something just never feels believable. These two talented actors have too much dialog to convey too few thoughts. It's too bad the end of the world couldn't have come just a bit sooner.