Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World - 101min - R

When faced with the end of all human existence it’s hard to find humor. This movie did its best to find some form of funny in this bleak setting. There we some chuckles but overall I could not shake the dark overtones of “it all does not matter because we are all going to die.” It is very hard to get emotionally connected to people that are doomed to die. What’s the point? This is a red light story with a few yellow light scenes but it’s really not worth the journey. It’s all so depressing.

We open the movie with a news cast telling us that earth’s last hope has blown up and the 70 mile wide meteor is going to hit us and wipe out humanity. Dodge (Steve Carell) and his wife Linda (Nancy Carell) are listening to the report in the car, when she hears the news there is no hope she bolts out of the car and runs off into the night. I should have taken this as a hint and done the same thing.

Dodge has no aspirations and no desires other than carry on with his mid-life crisis of not knowing what to do with his life and going to work every day. People all around him are taking one gigantic last fling and going out with a bang. He is still trying to find a meaningful connection. Is it honorable to be looking for love in a world that has gone mad and now indulges every little whim and throws common sense to the wind? I found him to be a wet blanket that has absolutely no direction.

He finds a connection with Penny (Keira Knightley) who is a free spirit who has broken up with her boyfriend (Adam Brody). Together they go and try and find Dodge’s ex-girlfriend and in return, he promises her that he can get her to an airplane that will take her to see her parents.

I was so looking forward to this movie. It had so much promise. It left me completely numb because of the magnitude of the catastrophe. It’s hard to make a connection to the people in the movie because I have no idea what I would do if I were in that same situation.

I found myself wondering what I would do if it were real, and that was a distraction from the movie. I had no connection to any of the characters on the screen. I saw nothing to represent what I would do. I would head off to the highest spot on the earth that I could get to and watch the final fireworks show.

Lorene Scafaria wrote and directed this film and one reason I was looking forward to it was because I loved her previous work (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist). I think she did herself a disservice by picking such a downer setting. Her characters interact well, and she has a gift for capturing very tender moments between them but I could not get myself motivated to care. Seriously, they are going to die in the next few minutes so why am I going to feel happy you found true love.

Spoiler warning!!! THEY ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!! oops should have saved that for below the link!!!!

One of the truly phenomenally stupid things that Dodge does is to put Penny on the plane and let her go. There are more seats on the plane. He should have gone along with her. You love her and you’re going to die in a few hours why the hell are you not telling her? This was one of the truly frustrating things about this character. You absolutely have nothing to lose. Just get the most out of life for the last few weeks of your existence.

Martin Sheen plays Dodge’s father. He does a wonderful job. He makes a contact with his estranged father and they have a genuine connection and a resolution before they die. This was a great scene that I think fit nicely in this kind of film.

You only have two weeks to live before the world blows up, what do you do?

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