Sunday, 28 October 2012

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

The end of days approaches and induces not only widespread rioting, killing and depression but a pretty generic if slightly dark rom-com.

That said, it's not particularly bad, just a bit uninspired. Dodge (Steve Carell) is a guy who'd played it safe through his entire life and finds himself inadvertently alone following the announcement of an unstoppable asteroid coming to slam into the planet. By coincidence it's only now that he runs into his neighbour Penny (Keira Knightley), a free thinking, slightly bohemian young woman whose circumstances have conspired to find her alone and cut off from her family as the apocalypse looms. They set off together on an impromptu roadtrip to try and fill their respective voids before annihilation: him, a highschool girlfriend who he regretted breaking up with for his whole adult life, and her a way back to England to see her family one last time.

Predictably, things don't go exactly to plan and this allows us to go through a number of quirky scenes in a sort of safari of how we all deal with impending doom differently. An ex army bunker stocked with videogames and redbull, a guy running from the hitman he hired in a very elaborate suicide and a restaurant turned drug fuelled love in are just some of the stops on the cross country journey of self discovery.

Only when the credits rolled did I realise why I felt like I'd seen it before, because I kind of already have. It's written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, writer of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and it pretty much dances to exactly the same beat, just with characters who are 15 years down the road. So if you want Nick and Norah with less indie music and more dark humour, Seeking a Friend should be right up your alley.

The humour kind of peters out after the first act and takes a bit of a backseat to the development of Dodge and Penny's relationship, and is pretty much gone by the time we reach the final conclusion in favour of more emotional drama. Honestly I think it's weaker for it, but the drama is still solid and enjoyable, except for one arc dealing with Dodge's father. Without spoiling too much it spits in the face of anyone who has had major issues with an absentee father by suggesting the whole thing can be resolved and buried in fifteen minutes. Ignore that bit, and you probably will do if you're not one of those people, and you're golden.

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