Monday, 19 May 2014

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Lowdown: An end of the world road trip has an unlikely man and woman pairing becoming friends.
What would you do if you knew with absolute certainty that the end of the world is coming? The wife of Dodge (Steve Carell) had a pretty good idea: she left her husband, an insurance worker, to be on his own. She's not alone, with the whole planet busy deciding what to do with itself: loot, have sex, or perhaps drink to death? There are a whole lot of options when one knows one does not have to pay the consequences for one's actions. One can even choose to become a bad parent without any conscious issues.
But Dodge doesn't feel that way, which is how we get to have a movie called Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Like everybody else, Dodge knows the planet has three weeks till it's knocked dead by an asteroid. At first he does not know how to deal with the cataclysm; he continues to show up to his now useless work (at least he gets promoted!). Then he learns that his neighbour, Penny (Keira Knightley) is holding on to some of his post, including a letter from an old sweetheart proclaiming him as the love of her life. Dodge has to set things right - he has to meet this sweetheart before the end. And Penny, she feels guilty, so she joins Dodge even though her biggest wish is to be with her family in the UK. Thus we have ourselves a road trip with a time limit to fill up a short hour and a half with.
We also have ourselves a decent romantic comedy. A romantic comedy that is also a road trip movie that is also filled to the brim with darker themes coming directly off the shelf of The Last Policeman. Indeed, the latter - a morbid detective story - is incredibly similar in character and events to Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
I thought the setting was well used in order to emphasise the core love story. It is always nice to see science fiction motifs being used in order to portray a story that has been told a million times before under a new light. And talking about new light, it felt good to witness Steve Carell act out a proper character as opposed to the usual idiotic and flat characters he usually ends up with. Then again, Knightley has this habit of annoying without fail: there is always this aura of artificiality about her.
Overall: A nice comedy of worthy themes. 3 out of 5 stars.

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