|A romcom propelled by the likability of it's lead characters|
Seeking a Friend begins with a radio broadcast about a desperate space mission to save the Earth from an oncoming asteroid, which is due to strike in one month. The mission has failed; humanity is now left to count down the final days of its existence. Steve Carell is Dodge, a man who's wife is propelled by the coming apocalypse to finally walk out on her husband, after years of unhappy marriage. If you saw last year's Crazy Stupid Love, you'll know generally what type of character Dodge is. A middle-aged white collar man stuck in a rut of mundanity and detached relationships with the world. While the rest of his friends are spending their final days partying, snorting coke, and generally chasing all of their hedonistic impulses, Dodge, in an apathetic haze, continues going to work at his insurance office everyday.
Cue Keira Knightley, a young woman named Penny who lives in a flat in Dodge's apartment building. Penny is introduced as a pretty familiar Manic Pixie Dream Girl, a bubbly ball of quirk, come to throw some excitement into Dodge's stagnant life. I feel like just labeling her as such would be a disservice thug, because while those tropes are certainly there, she is injected with just enough of her own personal conflict, that she doesn't become a total stereotype. And that aside, it's just not very hard to like Keira Knightly in this sort of role, no matter how rote it may seem. She has a meet-cute moment with Dodge, in which she breaks down sobbing, conveniently just outside Dodge's window. He invites her in, and she lets him in on her string of troubled relationships.
After Dodge receives an unexpected letter from his old college sweetheart Olivia, he and Penny team hit the road together to track her down. Comedic situations and bonding moments ensue. The tropes you expect are there, but they have the added twist of being framed by an impeding apocalypse, which adds some interesting color to the world. Dodge and Penny stop at a pub named "Friendly's", and find inside an amusingly chaotic and devil-may-care environment. Do you allow dogs in here? Sure, last week someone brought in a couple of wolves. When the traffic report comes on television, the reporter says only: "we're fucked". The dialogue is generally pretty funny and charming. Some elements seem unnecessary, like the random inclusion of an abandoned dog, which seems to only be there to add to the "oh we're so quirky" factor of the movie.
Throughout the madness though, our two leads remain fun to watch. Steve Carell just has this immediate likability, so any development on top of that is just extra. Keira Knightly plays her role perfectly well, and later begins to develop beyond her expected mold when she begins discussing her family. She plays some a couple of emotional moments especially well, which push her into feeling more human that stereotype. When the completely expected romance develops in the later acts, it is perfectly fine. I don't know that I totally bought it, but spending time with these characters was enjoyable enough that it didn't bother too much.
But how do you end a movie that promises the end of the world from its opening scene? Fairly predictably as it turns out. There is a moment late in the movie that seemed sort of nonsensical to me, a sort of self-sacrificial act from Dodge that is only there to add emotional punch but doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But my feeling as the credits rolled, and what seems to sum up my thoughts on the whole affair in general, is that despite some of the cliched moments, I still ended up enjoying what the movie had to offer. It's a romcom with a twist that tries to be sweet, and generally succeeds.
Trailer: Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World
So, the world's going to end in three weeks, but Keira Knightley wants to be your friend. That actually sounds like a pretty fair trade.
|news||DVD/Blu-Ray: October 23rd||staceywi|
|review||A romcom propelled by the likability of it's lead characters (3 out of 5)||ashogo|
|news||BOX OFFICE: It's All About Brave||staceywi|
|news||In Theaters: June 22nd||staceywi|