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Seeking An Audience For This Film June 22, 2012

Posted by Alichat in Humor, Movies, Random.
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Last night, I saw an early screening of Seeking A Friend For The End of the World, and I really only have one thing to say. Go see this movie!

Actually, I have more to say than that, of course. Seeking is not your typical guy-meets-girl-and-they-go-on-a-road-trip-together story. The big twist, which is given away in the trailers so don’t flame me spoiler police, is that the world is ending in three weeks. And not ending in a metaphorical way, but in an-asteroid-is-heading-toward-Earth-and-we’re-all-screwed kind of way.  The movie, written and directed by Lorene Scafaria who also wrote Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, is a whimsical and touching story that follows melancholy insurance rep Dodge (Steve Carell) and his quirky neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) as they take a road trip through the now chaotic world trying to accomplish the one thing they most want before the world ends. Dodge, joined by his newly acquired dog Sorry, hopes to see his ex-girl friend from high school one last time, a woman he hasn’t seen in at least a decade.  And Penny wants to get to England to be with her family, although the last airline flight ever took off the day before.  Along the way, we are treated to the various ways people deal with the impending apocalypse. From riots to gluttonous, drug addled  partying, blissful denial to clinging to routines, just about every reaction is covered.

Some of the funniest moments are in these responses, wrapped around the mundane moments of life, such as the evening news anchor, portrayed by Mark Moses, reminding everyone to set their clocks for Daylight Savings time, which takes effect the day after the world ends. There are a few scenes which could have crossed the line from funny to tired, but as absurd as some of these moments are, they ring true because they are grounded in reality. Everyone has that one friend, neighbor, or acquaintance that you know will be hunkered down in their bomb shelter with 5 years worth of Pepsi, Jiffy Pop, and Hot Pockets, confident they will survive to re-create the human race.  Scafaria moves the audience naturally through these situations, artfully highlighting the humor and irony.

For all the humor in the movie, I was a bit skeptical as to how Carell and Knightley would be chemistry-wise. However, they were captivating together. Their relationship, the emotional anchor to the film, ebbs and flows with such ease, you begin to wish for a lame twist ending where the asteroid is destroyed, and they all survive. Steve Carell, such a subtle dramatic actor, is heartbreaking, charming, and sweet with just the slightest of expressions; a small smile, a longing, wistful glance. Knightley is enchanting as the quirky, dreamy, scattered Penny, pulling you in as she rambles about her sleep disorder, attempts to charm a police officer, or as she speaks wistfully of her father and their belief in the superiority of vinyl albums. The casting overall was great, with notable supporting roles filled by Patton Oswalt, Martin Sheen, Connie Britton, and Rob Corddry.  And everything is tied together with some fantastic music choices ranging from INXS to Herb Alpert to The Hollies.

The film really leaves you asking the question….what would you do if you had three weeks to live? If you knew the exact date your time was up, what would fulfill you in the end? For Dodge and Penny, after all the life assessing, self discovery, and regrets, it is to truly connect with someone. And they do so in a compelling and entertaining way. The movie was so captivating that the group of frat guys next to me in the theatre actually stopped talking during the film 10 minutes in.  That surely impressed me!

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