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Friday, June 22, 2012

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Review - by Joshua Handler

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Review 
2012, 100 minutes
Rated R for language including sexual references, some drug use, and brief violence

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a good, clever film that is worth seeing, if you like movies of its kind.  It follows a man, Dodge (Steve Carrell), who befriends a young woman, Penny (Keira Knightly), as the world is about to end.  Together they take a road trip to visit some loved ones to be with them for the end.

This film marks the directorial debut of Lorene Scafaria (writer of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) and is a solid debut.  It has a nice mix of comedy, romance, and drama, but something is missing.  I cannot put my finger on it, but something kept it from being a really good or great film.  I think I wished that it had more of a "take advantage of life and go live it" message and more of a developed touching love story.  While bits of both are there, they should have been much stronger.  Also, the movie seemed to get distracted with different side characters and weird occurrences.  While some were very funny and necessary, some just detract from the movie and take running time up that could have been dedicated to, such as a scene (shown in the trailer) where Dodge and Penny are pulled over by a cop and briefly go to jail.  While this scene is funny, there is no reason why it should take up time that could be dedicated to the love story or whatever else.

That aside, there are many clever moments in the film.  Much of what makes them funny is the cast.  Steve Carrell and Keira Knightly do excellent jobs here.  They have very believable chemistry and they fit perfectly in their parts.  The supporting cast is also excellent, particularly Patton Oswalt (Young Adult, Ratatouille) as a drunk party guest.

In addition to the acting, the existing love story is very touching and bittersweet.  Writer/director Scafaria does very well at making the audience like the main characters and uses some very moving scenes to give the movie some heart.   

Overall, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is not perfect, but recommended if you like your films a little strange.  It is sweet, funny and sad and will not necessarily make your day happier, but will be nice to watch nonetheless.


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