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About the film
Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World is a comedy/ drama film that was released in 2012. The film has a run time of 101 minutes and is rated 15.
A 70 mile wide asteroid called Matilda is on a collision course with Earth and it has failed to be destroyed. In only three weeks, the world will end.
While sitting with his wife, Dodge hears the announcement. While he worries about a number of things, his wife quickly runs away, leaving him all alone. Unlike many other people he knows, Dodge still goes back to his insurance sales job the very next day and his life remains pretty much the same. Penny, who lives in the same building as Dodge breaks up with her boyfriend after he makes her miss the flight back to England where her family are. After Dodge comforts Penny and gives her a place to stay for the night, she gives him the three years' worth of mail that she kept forgetting to give him.
After reading a letter from his high school sweetheart and her confession of love dated three months earlier, Dodge and Penny embark on a road trip. He lets her know that he may know someone who can get her to England and her family if only she will help him get to the love of his life first. In a scary situation, these two people quickly become unexpected friends.
Steve Carell as Dodge Petersen
Keira Knightley as Penelope "Penny" Lockhart
William Petersen as Glenn
Melanie Lynskey as Karen Amalfi
Adam Brody as Owen
Tonita Castro as Elsa
Mark Moses as Anchorman
Derek Luke as Alan Speck
Connie Britton as Diane
Patton Oswalt as Roache
What I thought
When I saw the trailer for this film a good while back now, I was instantly interested. Both Kiera Knightley and Steve Carell are actors who I usually associate with particular kinds of films but with this film, it seemed as though they were both breaking out of their stereotypical roles.
Steve Carell's character, Dodge, really gets a bad deal even when the world is about to end. As he hears the announcement when sat in the car with his wife, she decides she has better things to spend her time doing and she leaves him all alone. It wasn't hard to feel sorry for Dodge and as the beginning of the film goes on, it doesn't get any better for him. He decides to still go to work in his extremely boring job because he has nothing better to do, he sits around watching his friends doing an insane amount of drink and drugs and generally having the time of their lives. Unlike his friends, Dodge doesn't see the point in going crazy even though the world is about to end.
Carell does a fantastic job as Dodge. He's very down about life in general and he doesn't have much going on in his life. Although used to playing a guy who doesn't do so well in life (like The 40 Year Old Virgin) he also normally plays characters who use quite obvious comedy moments to get laughs. However, in this film, I think the comedy with Dodge came from more understated moments and scenes that were far from expected from me. He's awkward in not only his actions and decisions but also in the way he sees himself. He doesn't really believe in himself at all and when he meets Penny, everything really begins to change for Dodge, especially his outlook on life.
Although they have lived in the same building for years, Dodge and Penny have never spoken... not until the night she breaks up with her boyfriend and needs a place to crash. It turns out that Penny has accidentally kept Dodge's mail for the past three years which included a letter from his high school sweetheart. Playing Penny is Keira Knightley, an actress best known for period drama films more than anything else. As Penny, Knightley takes up the role as a slightly flaky girl who doesn't care about much other than her record collection. Knightley plays this quirky yet funny girl really well and I was really surprised to like her so much in this film. I usually find her quite bland due to her playing the same kinds of roles but here, she does something different and definitely not stereotypical for her.
This is a film with a really interesting premise. It made me think about the world ending in such a short period of time and what I would try to get done if that were the case. While both Dodge and Penny have things they want to do and people they want to see the film also sheds light on what other people's actions may be like. Some people go wild, sleep around and take drugs but for others, the panic sets in. There are riots, robberies, fights and vandalism etc. Pretty much, the whole world goes into panic mode and everyone acts kind of crazy.
Even though the plot is one that could have been really depressing, it actually wasn't so much. Once Dodge and Penny meet, things begin to look up for both of them. Each character is in a dark and rough place by the time they meet and they really do find a strange friendship within each other. The film follows Dodge trying to get to his high school sweetheart to confess his love before the world ends while Penny is trying to find a plane that can take her back to her family in England. Their road trip provides many comedic moments and also provides a way of the characters getting to know each other more as well as them developing on their own.
Overall, this film was not at all what I was expecting it to be. I loved both main characters and the actors playing them. The story was very different and surprising but very entertaining at the same time.
*This review will also be posted on my blog and other sites*
With all the end of the world craze of last year, 'Seeking a Friend' is a welcome comedy, starring one of my favourite actresses Keira Knightley and Steve Carell... what could go wrong?
Dodge (Steve Carell) is a middle-aged man who, upon hearing the world will end, continues his everyday routine. Even as his wife leaves him, he goes to work, eats microwaved food and so on. But his meaningless last days change when he meets his neighbour Penny (Keira Knightley), a young and quirky girl who inspires him to find his high school sweetheart before the world ends.
The two go on an adventure to rekindle Dodge's long lost love and to reunite Penny with her family. On the way, they meet some strange people and find themselves in outrageous predicaments, but will they make it in time?
The film was somewhat slow to start but highlighted the monotony of Dodge's life. It was thankfully picked up when the pair meet and from then on, sped away. It was quite amusing to see the reactions to the 'end of the world' reflect upon how people acted in December- the parties, the riots... and really people's response to their last days...
Which is essentially what I feel this film was trying to do. Instead of making another disaster movie where people are trying to escape said disaster, it is more of a meaningful message: If you know you are going to die, how will you spend your last days? Is it alone? With family? With your lover?
Hidden in the midst of uneccessarily drugs, sex and alcohol, this message peeps out every now and then, asking us to question what is most important to us and to cherish it before it is too late. Unfortunately, the movie feels forced in some way, whether it is the unlikely pair's lack of real chemistry or just what happens to them, but it takes away from the overall effect of the movie.
As the film reaches its climax, it kind of takes a drastic turn and ends in a really typical way which I did not want or like. There are some sweet moments at the end, but... I would've liked to see it done differently.
Keira Knightley- Penny
Steve Carell- Dodge
Also stars Adam Brody, Nashville's Connie Britton and Desperate Housewives' Mark Moses.
Even as a Knightley fan, I struggled to really like her in this role. The young British actress may be flawless in a period drama, but when she needs to act in the present day as a normal female, it seems to strike her as a tad difficult. There is a cute awkwardness she puts into the role but feels overacted, whereas Carell was fluid, genuine and believable.
The chemistry between the two were awkward and forced. Yes they can be friends- I can totally see that- but when romantic love is hinted and thrown in, I was like NOOOOOOOOOO... that part did NOT work.
'Seeking a Friend for the end of the world' had the potential to be a great heartwarming family movie but tried too hard to be funny and modern that it failed to successfully bring the message of cherishing and love. The awkward chemistry between the leads made this uneasy to watch and despite some likeable sweet scenes, did not manage to detract from the ultimate unlikelihood of the pair.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
What a great little movie this is. I thoroughly enjoyed it and that was surprising as I am not a fan of Keira Knightly and expected too much comedy from Steve Carell. It was surprising because I enjoyed Knightley's performance and Carell played it straight and it worked. I was even more surprised because of the bad reviews I had previously read about it. On viewing I was soon to realise that most of them (including the Guardian) were too wrapped up in trying to be clever and witty rather than actually seeing a movie that was light-hearted and actually made quite well. Then again the Guardian reviewer in question, who gave this movie one star out of five, did give all the 'American Pie' movie two stars or above; I rest my case.
The movie is not too deep and layered but does take itself seriously in the fact that it shows us just how fragile we are and gives us a view of what is important when it all boils down to it, which is fundamentally our own well-being.; well the saying does say 'look after number one'. The two main characters in their desire to help each other inadvertently and maybe even subconsciously do just that.
Before I talk about my thoughts and feelings on the movie, let's take a look at the storyline.
The end is nigh! Te residents of earth have approximately three weeks to live as a huge asteroid over seventy miles in width is about to collide with the planet. The movie begins with Dodge (Steve Carell) an insurance broker and his wife Linda (Nancy Carell) sitting in their car, listening to a radio DJ telling them that 'Matilda', the asteroid, will hit in twenty-one days. Dodge tells her that they missed the exit on the freeway. Linda responds by getting out of the car and running off into the night, leaving Dodge alone in the world.
Dodge looks back on his life and thinks of his high-school sweetheart and his one true love. While sitting numbly in his apartment he notices a girl from his apartment sitting on his fire escape crying. The girl, Penny (Keira Knightly) has just split up with her boyfriend because he made her miss what could be the last chance she had to see her English family. Dodge accompanies her to her apartment to gather some things and she hands him a pile of letters that the postman had put in her letterbox by mistake; nothing unusual there, but the letters date back to three years or more.
In amongst them is a letter from Dodge's high school sweet-heart proclaiming her love for him and telling him that he was her one true love. The letter was dated three months earlier. Dodge is furious and sets out to find Olivia after the area he lives in is hit by rioters and he is forced to move on. Penny tags along and a friendship develops. They decide to help each other. Penny will help Dodge find Olivia and Dodge knows someone with a plane to help fly Penny to her parents before the asteroid hits.
What develops is a friendship that turns to love in the short space of time that they have left and a realisation that nothing really matters in the end and we don't really have any control over our fate.
At the start of the review I alluded to the fact that I am not a Keira Knightly fan. To be honest this is a bit of an understatement as I have never really liked her in anything. I don't mean to be rude to Miss Knightly as I am sure she is a lovely person in life but something about her as an actress or on screen has always rubbed me up the wrong way. 'Bend it Like Beckham' made me cringe, The 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movies make my dinner feel unsafe in my stomach, albeit the fact that I have to put up with Johnny Depp as well and I have not really enjoyed a performance by her; although in her defence, I haven't seen all of her movies.
In 'Seeking a Friend For the End of the World' I thought she did a really good job. I have heard comments of 'Too ditsy', 'too English' and 'under-played' being touted around reviews but to me that is exactly what the character demanded of the role. She was meant to be a ditsy English girl without much common sense and a girl who missed her family. Who wouldn't at a time like that? One thing I didn't really like was the fact that she clung on to her vinyl records. I can understand why she did and why this was added as it was probably the closest thing to home and her father that she had to hold on to, but for me, as a record lover, if I had three weeks left to live my vinyl collection would be the least of my worries.
I think she played off Carell really well in one of the most unlikely relationships you could imagine. As soon as I saw her enter the movie I thought she was going to irritate the hell out of me and annoy me but not being a person that pre-judges, I gave her the benefit of the doubt and she didn't annoy me. I found her quite charming and real.
As for Steve Carell, he will sadly be panned by the critics for this movie. When he's being funny in a movie they say he's being too funny and over-the-top and when he tries to play it straight they say he is playing it too straight in trying not to come across as funny; so it is hard for the guy to throw his own straw without breaking his own back.
I thought Carell was brilliant in this movie in that he was boring, he was depressive and he was dead-pan and that is exactly what the character was supposed to be. For the first forty-five minutes I was waiting for him to slip into that comedic role but it I am glad to say that it never materialised and he stuck with the role.
Carell played the awkward, self-effacing Dodge to a tee and for me the character really worked. To read reviews saying he was boring and sad and looked lost is actually lost on me because there was three weeks left until the end of the world, he's hardly going to turn cartwheels is he?
The support cast offered up some surprising cameos, none more so than William Peterson (Grissom from C.S.I) who played a truck driver who gives the two characters a lift.
Martin Sheen makes an appearance as Dodge's estranged Father and Derek Luke, who many of the ladies will know and appeared as the lead in 'Antwone Fisher' appeared as Penny's ex-boyfriend, Speck.
Dodge's wife, Linda, who appears at the start of the movie and ends up running away from him after they hear the news that the asteroid can't be deflected, is played by Nancy Carell, who is Steve Carell's real wife.
The Director and direction on the movie
Lorene Scafaria wrote the screenplay and directed the movie, which was filmed in Los Angeles. It is a movie that is very close to her heart as she has gone through the mill in her private life when it comes to relationships and loss. After enduring a death in her family, a break-up and then embarking on a new relationship she decided to write the story of Dodge and Penny, reflecting on her own experiences.
The movie looks crisp and concise and the mood that is captured is totally concentrated on the characters. Not once do we see the asteroid, which is quite refreshing for a disaster type movie. Disaster movie is quite apt in the fact that the disasters are those of loves lost and lives gone by as well as the obvious impending doom. Although the movie is well made there are times when you feel that a change in scenery and colour would do it the world of good, pardon the pun.
The music in the film is quite cool and we are treated to some old classics such as a complete play-through of the Hollies classic 'Air That I Breathe', which blends in quite well with the scene.
The movie was filmed in May 2011 and was released to cinema in June 2012.
The script is dialogue based and holds up but at times you do want something a little more exciting to happen but then again that all boils down to want you want to get out of the movie.
The movie was filmed on a budget of ten million and only accrued just over half of that back. Not a commercial success but not a complete flop either.
If you're off out to the cinema for the evening and you went to see this movie on a whim then you would probably be disappointed. If you're looking for thrills and laughs then you would most definitely be disappointed. However, I watched the movie on the sofa, snuggled up in a duvet with the intention of watching something easy, something not too taxing on the brain, something light-hearted and easy going. That's exactly what I got. Admittedly, the subject matter is not so light-hearted but the actors pull it off and I enjoyed them randomly conversing about stuff that didn't really matter because their world was coming to an end. It was refreshing in that it wasn't your bog-standard 'Oh no, the world is ending, but don't worry they'll shoot the asteroid out of the sky with a rocket and if they don't, at least I can rob a bank and have more money than sense for three weeks to build a shelter to protect me from the zombies that will inevitably be strolling around in the aftermath'.
I thought the movie was charming in the end and I liked the characters because they were real and well crafted. Anyone who says that the acting was bad in this film either didn't want to enjoy it and had made their mind up to not do so, or just didn't get or appreciate how intricate and delicate the roles were. Carell may come across as morose and dead from the waste up at times but that is exactly what he was meant to do and if you really got into the movie there were certain nuances and behavioural imbalances that made Dodge so very real.
If you totally hated it then I suggest you get in touch with the Guardian's reviewer and arrange an 'American Pie Evening' where you can both analyse the intricacies of how to make excruciatingly mind numbing dross and then package it to cater for the brain-dead masses in order to warrant a sequel or too.
In all seriousness though if you didn't like it then hey, each to their own, and it is most definitely a movie that will not be everyone's cup of tea. It's a movie to watch on your own with a nice hot drink and some snacks on a rainy day, thus shutting the world out for a while.
I have to mention the obvious plot holes in movie at some stage but I want to talk about the critics and people that say that the science is wrong, but I will say that it is just a movie and Scafaria can write what she wants to but we all know how careful you have to be with what you say and do in today's oh so politically correct world. For one a news reader in the movie announces that the asteroid will hit the earth a week earlier than expected; if that was true then the asteroid would be quite a way off the trajectory that they had predicted, thus changing the outcome. There are forums across the internet analysing and picking at every word regarding the asteroid and the collision with earth in this movie but all I can really say about it at the end of the day, again no pun intended, is that it is a movie and just that. It is fiction and therefore not real and so it doesn't matter if it would transpire like in the script or not because it is a work of pure imagination, pure fiction and as I have said many times in my reviews, if a movie was just about things that happen in everyday life then what would be the point of storytellers? Brad Pitt and Naomi Watts in 'What Flavour Packet of Crisps did They Buy from the Corner Shop'.
I think the movies own promotion killed it in effect by touting it as a comedy. There are funny moments in the movie but I find it more of a poignant movie than a comedy. Most of the comedy is black in any case and I think it has done itself down by promoting it as a comedy starring Steve Carell.
Seeking a Friend For the End of the World is available on standard sell-through DVD, Blue-Ray and digitally online.
Extras include: Eight minutes of out-takes 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 again, which is a bit of a waste of time to be honest.
Not a great array of content if extras are your bag.
All in all I give the movie 3 out of five stars for something to watch when you just want to relax.
I hadn't seen any adverts for this film or heard anything about it, and to be honest I only saw it at the cinema because we fancied going but there was nothing else on. The fact that Steve Carell was in it gave me some hope that it would be a good one though. The film is directed by Lorene Scafaria and was released in the UK on Friday 13th July.
The film is about Dodge Peterson (Steve Carell) and his experiences when he and the rest of the world discover that the world is going to end. The film begins with a news announcement declaring that a 70 mile wide asteroid is heading directly for earth and in three weeks time Earth will be destroyed by the clash thus ending human life.
Sadly for Dodge his wife leaves him immediately after the news announcement, highlighting the fact that she was never happy with him and hinting at an affair which is later confirmed. It seems like everyone is going crazy, Dodge watches his friends take heroin and become unfaithful, however he feels the same and doesn't feel the need to change or do anything. In fact it appears he is slightly in denial about the grim reality.
It isnt just Dodges friends that are going crazy but the whole world, and it isnt long before Dodge is forced to evacuate his New York apartment due to the arrival of a vicious riot. He decides to alert his neighbour Penny (Keira Knightley) who he met the day before and they go on the run together in order for Dodge to find the original love of his life Olivia and for Penny to be re-united with her family in England. The pair form an agreement that if Penny can help Dodge get to his highschool sweetheart, he knows someone with a plane who will take her to England. What follows is a humourous road trip with various funny moments along the way and finally the conclusion where we find out if Dodge and Penny will get their final wishes and will the world actually end?
I was a bit worried that the film would be very depressing but the comedy moments in the film and the overall light heartedness throughout prevented this. The scenario and many of the occurrences are depressing when you think about it, yet the film manages to make it seem quite funny and relaxed. The problem was I found the film quite boring, I wasn't expecting a disaster movie or anything too dramatic but it still felt boring despite only being 1.5 hours long. The plot was fast paced though and the set constantly changed but even this didn't help it too much. It is quite a deep film and focuses a lot on romance which I would usually like, however we don't see a lot of actual romance blossom which was a bit disappointing.
It was also slightly ruined by Keira Knightley whom I'm not a big fan of however I found in this film she was particularly bad. I found her acting style and pronunciation really irritating. It seemed as though she had been given a type of character to play but overplayed it and went too over the top to the point where the character became hard to believe and seemed quite forced and false. This really affected my enjoyment of the film and gave me a good reason to look forward to the ending so I could get out!
Steve Carell was slightly better but I felt he didn't have chance to shine in his usual way and although it was a comedy he was never really the centre of the comical moments. His character Dodge is quite an ordinary boring person so I guess this required ordinary and boring acting! But it just didn't inspire me at all.
**Film production / Soundtrack**
The film didn't really require any special effects, nor should it have done but the overall setting of each scene was believable and looked good. I also really liked the soundtrack which brought the film to life and added to the emotional moments and complimented the film really well.
I thought the plot and idea behind this film were really good but it just wasn't handled or cast very well. In order to be better I would have preffered more comic moment featuring Steve Carell and a different actress playing Keira Knightley, perhaps someone who could pull off more of a convincing and deep role. Therefore overall I was disappointed in this film and wouldn't recommend it.