Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (12/9/12)

Seeking a Friend for the End of the WorldMovie Two Hundred Seventy Five

In the final days before an asteroid wipes out the Earth, two neighbors form an unlikely friendship as they are Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.

News that the 70-mile-wide asteroid will be colliding with Earth in three weeks comes in and Dodge Peterson’s (Steve Carell) wife leaves him. He goes into work the next day at the insurance company to find that the building is mostly deserted and people are handling the end of the world differently, either depressed or without inhibition and everywhere in between. After trying to kill himself by drinking a window cleaning product called “Windose”, he wakes up with a dog tied to him a note that says “sorry”, so he names the dog Sorry. He meets his neighbor, Penny (Keira Knightley) and the two form a bond. Dodge tells her that he wants to visit his first love, Olivia, and she wants to visit her family in England and they decide to help each other meet their final wishes.

I have mixed feelings about Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, but unfortunately they are mostly negative. It’s not that I had a bad time watching the film, at the time I was largely indifferent to it, I just wasn’t charmed by it. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World has a myriad of cameos from big stars, and Carell in the lead will likely polarize people from the start. I’m a fan of Carell’s work, both good and bad, and he is totally underutilized here. Dodge is likeable, but so incredibly mundane that I never really cared for him. Keira Knightley also kind of bugs me so that doesn’t help cinch the friendship/romance we’re supposed to be rooting for.

The main problem I have with Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is its sense of humor. Most of the humor in the film is dark, sometimes so dark it’s hard to tell if it’s trying to be funny or just making light of a dark situation. End of the world films should have an air of doom to them, after all, but instead of keeping it dark comedy there are some odd bits that seem to have the opposite sense of humor. It’s almost like several people had a hand in writing different scenes of Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, but not in a good, varied way, but in a way that seems directionless.

That’s kind of a lot of negative criticism to throw at a film I didn’t hate watching, but I feel like Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is a wasted opportunity for a pretty damn good premise. I feel like a comedian like Louis CK could do so much with the material here and make a fantastic dark comedy with better characters. In fact, now that I’ve said that, I wish Louis CK was in the film instead of Steve Carell because Louis CK makes everything better. Speaking of comedians, Patton Oswalt has a great cameo.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is still a film I would recommend seeing but it would be low on my recommendation list. It’s a film that wants to do so much right and just doesn’t quite hit the high notes it needs to be memorable.

I give it 3 Friendsy’s out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes



28 responses to “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (12/9/12)

  1. That’s too bad. I really thought this movie was going to be a good one. I can see Louis CK’s sarcasm, f*ck you attitude, and at the same time lovable nature to be perfect for this type of film. Too bad….such a shame.

  2. Good review Andy. It’s pretty damn uneven, but still entertaining to watch, even if the drama doesn’t really work so well when you compare it to all of the comedy that was pushed in for mass-appeal.

    • WHen I was watching it I couldn’t tell if the comedy was there to brighten the mood or if it was there to be able to market the film. The whole Friendsy’s scene was like 2 minutes but it was in literally every trailer I saw of the film.

  3. I’m pretty close to your thoughts on this one, I ended up liking it more than you seem to and I was charmed by it to a degree, but I agree that it does feel as if multiple writers were involved and that it isn’t as good as it could have been.

      • I know what you mean, I sometimes find that she really grates on me and in other films actually really like her. I kind of felt that about her during this film actually, there were bits that worked and bits that didn’t quite so much. I actually would like to see her in another comedic role as I thought she handled it quite well, especially consdering the company she was in. It would be an interesting avenue to see her explore further.

  4. I so wanted to see this, partly because of the cast and partly because of the premise. Unfortunately, nearly every review I’ve read has been neither positive nor negative, but decidedly “meh”. Probably won’t end up catching int now, w/ everything else out there that I haven’t seen

  5. The reason I haven’t seen this yet is because I too am not a fan of Keira Knightley. Enjoyed the review, and though I will probably see it at some point, I won’t make it high on my priority list

    • She kept me from seeing it in theaters but now I’m glad I waited…I would have been really disappointed had I paid for that.

      Like I said in a previous comment; it’s worth seeing if you have a freebie rental or something.

  6. I Mayan be one of the few that liked this end of the world themed movie. While I agree it was almost two separate movies: one a black dark comedy and the other a sad dark drama it showed a progression of the mood change of the characters as their reality sets in.

  7. I hadn’t heard of this film before your review. It’s a shame that you don’t rate it too highly, I thought it was going to be good as soon as you mentioned Steve Carell haha! I might watch it anyway, given its relevence to it being the end of the world today and all!


  8. I actually quite liked the humor in this film and was completely immersed in it but the romantic subplot ruined it. Carrell and Knightley have no chemistry and their relationship was so unnecessary! I loved Knightley in her role but Carrell was playing the same part he’s been playing for years.

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