Dodge (Steve Carell) in Seeking a Friend at the End of the World.
Amour at Armageddon
By Don Simpson
By Don Simpson
Admittedly, I went into writer-director Lorene Scafaria's Seeking a Friend for the End of the World with grave concerns about how convincing Steve Carell and Keira Knightly would be as a romantic couple; after watching the film, I am even less convinced than before.
Opening the film, Linda (Nancy Carell) leaves Dodge (Steve Carell) shortly after a radio announcement that a last ditch effort to destroy a giant earthbound meteor has failed. With three weeks remaining, most of humankind is understandably catapulted into a state of anarchy and sexual promiscuity. Dodge, however, opts to mourn the demise of his marriage, slipping right into Carell’s all-so-typical sad sack persona (a role he does quite well). On one fateful evening, Dodge finds Penny (Keira Knightley — who too is also playing a very familiar character) bawling on his balcony. Dodge lets Penny inside and we promptly learn that she can sleep through anything, as long as she has enough weed to lull her into la-la-land. (This point is reiterated countless times, as a build up to a pivotal scene in the third act.) Eventually the odd couple find themselves on the road -- with Penny’s favorite records in hand -- in search of a previous lost love of Dodge’s (despite his obvious affinity for Penny) and a plane to take Penny to her family across the pond. All the while, the countdown to the apocalypse continues.
A world premiere at LAFF this year, the recently-released Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is being marketed as a more believable take on the doomsday scenario, following two lost souls in desperate need for human companionship; but nothing about this film is even remotely believable. Would a 90-mile-diameter meteor instantly annihilate the Earth a la Melancholia? Would it really be so difficult to destroy (or lessen the impact of) such an object? Why is all hope lost 21 days before impact? Why are all aircraft grounded and phone service disconnected? But most importantly, what do Dodge and Penny see in each other? And how in the hell did “Stay with Me” by The Walker Brothers end up on Penny’s vinyl copy of Scott Walker’s Scott (nonetheless that scene is my favorite moment of the film)? It makes no sense, I tell you!!!