Movie Review: Seeking A Friend For The End of the World (2012)

Posted: June 23, 2012 in Comedy
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Dodge (Steve Carell) is an insurance agent, who’s in his car with his wife Linda (Nancy Carell) when he hears that the world is going to be struck by a meteor in a month.  He is devastated, he doesn’t want to spend what remains of his life in wanton debauchery, like his friends. He wants to quietly enjoy his life with Linda.  Only problem, Linda is gone.  Dodge finds himself being used as a shoulder to cry on by a pretty, younger neighbor named Penny. (Keira Knightly)  Penny is lamenting breaking up with her boyfriend. Owen (Adam Brody)  Dodge finds out some interesting information from Penny, his wife was cheating on him, and his high school sweetheart writes a letter to Dodge, seeking him out.  (The letter was mistakenly delivered to Penny instead)  Dodge uses a riot near his apartment to escape with Penny, and an abandoned dog named Sorry.  He wants to find his high school sweetheart, and he promises her a flight to London to see her parents.  Things get complicated when Dodge and Penny sleep together.  Penny dismisses it as “end of the world” sex, but does it mean more to both of them, than both of them let on?  What happens when Dodge gets to his girlfriend’s house?  Does Penny ever make it to London?
I wanted to like this movie, I really did, but there were too many problems with the story.  Is it a comedy or a drama?  It starts out being a no-holds barred farce on end of the world movies, like Armageddon, and movies of that ilk.  Sure the world is going to end, but they’re having fun, one scene even satirizes the Friday’s restaurant chain.  It becomes a road movie more than an end of the world movie, and it should have maintained that tone, but suddenly, the tone shifts to a serious and maudlin one, and that wrecked the movie.  I didn’t know where the movie was supposed to be set, was it California?  Was it New Jersey?  The writer is from New Jersey, but the film is shot entirely in California so the whole setting threw me off.  Here’s another thing that bothered me there’s supposed to be rioting, it’s the end of the world, rioting drove Carell and Knightly from their homes, but oddly after one rioting scene in the movie, the US seems pretty placid, not so much as a power outtage.  I know this is a movie, but could there be a little more realism, please?
And of course the 800 pound gorilla in the room was the age difference between the characters, Carell is 50, his character even talks about a midlife crisis, Knightly is 27, playing 28.  I’m not a prude, but I’m sure I’m not alone when I say the thought of a 50 year old man sleeping with a 28 year old girl is pretty disturbing to me. Then there is talk of love?  Can a 50 year old man really love a 28 year old woman that he’s known for a week, and Vice Versa?  What would they talk about?  Honestly.  If the world wasn’t ending, they’d run out of things to say in about 2 months.  The really shocking part is the writer is a woman, so I can’t dismiss this as the typical Hollywood male fantasy.  The other thing that bothers me is, this movie has a false ending, and the real ending is much worse, although I’m sure the ending they used tested much better with audiences.  I like Steve Carell, he’s gpt the everyman, put upon, character down pat.  No one does that character better. But his character is too perfect in this movie, he does nothing wrong, and that’s a little too much too take.  I like Keira Knightly, I like her in this movie, I like her the devil-may care attitude early in this movie, but later, she is far more conventional and far less appealing.   Martin Sheen shows up late, and by this time, the movie is too far gone to save, and any germ of a good concept is long gone.
Seeking A Friend For The End of the World.  I wished the world had ended before I saw this movie.
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