Seeking a Friend for The End of The World: Doomsday Date Movie?

115

Romance may not be the thing uppermost on your mind and your to-do list when planet earth is in its final days during 2012, but don’t tell that to Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World writer/director Lorene Scafaria (Nick And Nora’s Infinite Playlist). Weirdly mixing up movie genres that comes off more as a cocktail of oil and water than anything else, this literally terminally giddy offering is best described as well, a doomsday date movie.

Doing maudlin and manic respectively in Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World, are Steve Carell and Keira Knightley as disoriented duo Dodge and Penny, crossing paths by chance amidst a chaotic, frenzied population. As news reports spread about a seventy mile wide asteroid hurling towards earth, Dodge’s wife disappears in a panic. Leaving the abandoned, meek insurance salesman in an ironic, distraught funk, and bent on locating his old high school sweetheart for a little unscheduled TLC before checkout.

At the same time, Dodge’s kooky, compulsively in the moment free spirit neighbor Penny turns up out of the fray – a peculiarly muted human backdrop frantically surrounding them everywhere. As she differently engages in all sorts of strange when not outright silly behavior to self-alleviate her anxieties.

And with Penny’s own preoccupied pressing quest to find her family, the two team up to hit the road in search of an unrealistic re-imagining more than outright reliving of the remembered past. But with the ensuing episodes along the way serving as more annoying distraction than intimately, mutually experienced psychological trauma.

Don’t blame the stars, the enthusiasm they breathe into this blatantly bizarre story could not be more palpable. It’s just that all their eager to please attitude is like pouring dramatic intensity into a pointless plot constructed like a sieve. So that by the time the end of the world does materialize, there’s nearly a relief to welcome its demise.

And no, the funny stuff inserted into this giddy gloom and doom road movie did not cheer up the inevitable curtains for both the plot and the planet one bit. Sorry, not into friending this movie, even if it were the end of the world.

Focus Features

Rated R

2 stars

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.