I love movies that take you into a scenario and make you ask yourself, “What would I do in this situation?”
“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” is a simple story: An asteroid will hit the planet Earth in three weeks’ time. There is nothing scientists can do to stop it. It is inevitable. So how will Earthlings spend those final days of life?
Some will go out looting and causing chaos. Some will quit their diets, eat everything in sight and stop going to the gym. Others will explore every sexual appetite, having no fear of disease or pregnancy. Still others will continue their daily routines, going to work, mowing the lawn, cleaning the house.
For Dodge (Steve Carell), it brings the realization that he has been in a loveless marriage, illustrated by the fact that his wife (Carell’s real-life wife, Nancy) gets out of the car and runs away at hearing the cataclysmic news.
He is alone. He tries to go to the office where he once sold insurance, but he grows weary of the complaining phone calls and doesn’t return. Why should he? He hunkers down in his apartment, stares at the walls and waits for the end to come.
But a wacky neighbor, Penny (Keira Knightley), pulls him out of his funk when she hands him a misplaced letter from an old girlfriend of his, claiming he was the “love of her life.”
And since Penny’s boyfriend is a self-centered jerk, Dodge and Penny decide to go on a road trip in hopes that Dodge can reconnect with his old flame before the end. Penny wishes she could have gone home to England to be with her family, but the airlines have stopped flying.
As you can imagine, the world has changed dramatically since the devastating news, but the two manage to find places to eat (the restaurant scene is especially funny) and ways to get around (an old friend helps from a survivalist compound).
Everyone’s take on the “last days” is fairly refreshing, and the situations are intriguing, but herein lies the problem. The film is called “Seeking a Friend ...” not “Seeking an Unlikely Lover ...” and I think it sort of ruins the movie. This sudden departure from the friendly to the deeply romantic doesn’t work.
It makes what was once thoughtful, humorous and introspective into a sappy love story with cheeseball turns of events that don’t fit the tone or temperament of the rest of the movie.
“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” had an interesting and an unusual idea going for it, but sold out to the conventional trappings of every other romantic film that’s come along in the last few years.
Must love conquer all — all of the time?
Why can’t we just hug it out, play some cards, cook up some tacos and make peace with the world?
That’s what this movie deserved. Not a forced romance to add some silly drama to an already grave situation. This film led me to “seek” one thing, but find something else. And that’s too bad.