Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World REVIEW

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World review: Shallow impact.

Steve Carell in Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

Steve Carell's career as a mobile DJ was not a great success.


Release Date: 5 November 2012
2012 | 15 | 97 minutes | £19.99 (DVD)/£24.99 (Blu-ray)
Distributor: Studiocanal
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Cast: Keira Knightley, Steve Carell, Gillian Jacobs

Good news, miseryguts middle-aged men! Bringing hope to over-the-hill sad-sacks everywhere, Seeking A Friend… is yet another film that would have you believe there’s a quirky twentysomething beauty out there who’ll find your crushed-by-life pessimism and inability to get out of a chair without groaning endearing and teach you to carpe diem. She’s even into listening to old music on vinyl! Sadly, this particular Manic Pixie Dream Girl fantasy is a little difficult to swallow – even though it’s the work of a female writer/director.

Faced with the imminent destruction of all life on Earth by an asteroid collision, Dodge (Steve Carell) goes on a quest to find his first love, accompanied by young neighbour Penny (Keira Knightley). If you’ve ever seen… well, a film (or, gents of a certain age, had a wistful daydream about Zooey Deschanel) you can probably guess what happens next.

Carell gives a pleasingly understated, subtle performance as the terminally disappointed Dodge. Unfortunately, when it comes to Keira Knightley, you can see the cogs grinding; it’s far too arch a performance. It’s impossible to buy this budding romance: Penny could do far better than this limp salad of a man, and the chemistry somehow doesn’t feel right.

As a result, the film works better when it’s establishing the situation, before it heads off on the road. There’s some amusingly blunt, uninhibited dialogue (a traffic reporter simply says, “We’re fucked”, while Penny’s opening gambit to Dodge is, “I won’t steal anything if you don’t rape me”), and there are some droll scenarios, like the middle-class dinner party where someone excitedly cries, “I wanna do heroin to Radiohead!”. And vinyl fetishists (by which we mean record lovers, not gimpwear enthusiasts) will approve of the way Lorene Scafaria lionises the LP.

When it comes to pathos, there are better end-of-the-world efforts though – something the similarity of the final moment to Last Night, a Canadian indie from 1998, underlines. If you’re seeking a truly moving study of the final days, track that down instead. If all you’re after is a few wry smiles, this’ll do.

Extras:

Scant. Eight minutes of out-takes (highlight: a dog eating a prop poo!) and the trailer, plus a pre-release promo (five minutes), and an “end of the world playlists” featurette that’s just the last two minutes of the promo pointlessly repeated.

Ian Berriman twitter.com/ianberriman

For an alternate perspective, read our Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World review from the theatrical release.
Watch the Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World trailer.