Film Review: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

hr_Seeking_a_Friend_for_the_End_of_the_WorldSeeking a Friend for the End of the World is a really great idea that is miscast and very poorly executed.

The world is going to end, the film opens with news that the last hope (an Armageddon style mission to blow up the asteroid) has failed and our protagonist’s, Dodge, wife running out on him with no hope left.  Dodge meanders for a few weeks before his cute neighbor, Penny, delivers years of misplaced mail in her mailbox and Dodge discovers his long lost first love has written to him, wanting to see him again.  Penny and Dodge decide to go out and find her, with Dodge promising to help Penny get back to her family in England as a return favor before the world ends.

So the film starts off alright, the first act has a number of laughs and a bunch of really funny actors getting to have some end of the world type debauchery.  The film brings up a lot of interesting ideas and scenarios as to what people might do with their final weeks on earth and the degenerative world building is done fairly effectively.  Patton Oswalt, Rob Corddry,  Melanie Lynskey, Adam Brody, and Connie Britton all populate these early scenes and are great, but when Dodge and Penny hit the road things switch from being an interesting social commentary on how we might act in the face of the end to a truly terrible road film.

I think I am going to have to get into spoilers at this point folks, just to get into how bad of a movie this is.  The film suddenly decides that the second act is going to be this “crazy” road trip and this is where the film quickly falls apart.  We meet a soft spoken man waiting to be contract murdered, a T.G.I. Fridays rip off full of orgy ready druggies, a cop still pulling people over and throwing them in jail for speeding in the middle of the night with the end of the world on the way (and because he takes his job so seriously and then leaves his post all night), a bunker of military types who are worried about re-procreating the earth and don’t recruit any women to be in their bunker and these beats are completely boring and mostly unfunny. Some of these plot points obviously make no sense on top of being boring, yet are entirely more believable than the chances of Dodge and Penny getting together.

The third act is supposed to be this romantic interval between the two, but both the writing and the stars give no chemistry for us to latch on to.  Keira Knightley and Steve Carell just don’t work off one another, and you can’t have both of your leads be sad and wallow around the whole movie if you want your viewer to engage.  Knightley is supposed to be weird, cute and quirky, which she kind of is, but she never brings enough energy to counteract Carell who is in sad face mode.  The romance is so undercooked that the film’s three big “romantic” moments complete fail, one of which is predicated on a ridiculous “twist” that made me want to walk out of the theater.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a mess of a movie and I couldn’t recommend it on pretty much any level whatsoever.  It is an interesting premise but they abandoned everything interesting rather quickly and try to make each of the last two acts completely different types of movies; both fail spectacularly.  Worst of all the film is mostly a bore and you could spend your time at the theater this summer with much, much better entertainment.  The leads are miscast, the script is rarely funny, and there is no chemistry to be found between any of the actors; what a shame.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is an F

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