Seeking a Friend Not the Usual Disaster Film
- Friday, June 22, 2012
DVD Release Date: October 23, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: June 22, 2012
Rating: R (for language, including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence)
Run Time: 101 min.
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Actors: Steve Carell, Nancy Carell, Keira Knightley, Adam Brody, Connie Britton, Rob Corddry, Martin Sheen, Melanie Lynskey
In most disaster movies, the bulk of the film’s running time is dedicated to watching the world—or in Titanic’s case, a luxurious cruise ship with several thousand souls on board—go down in truly spectacular fashion. To wit, we get to know the characters just enough to care about their impending doom, but not so much that it steals any precious minutes from the Main Event.
But in writer/director Lorene Scafaria’s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, it’s the three weeks before the forthcoming arrival of a 70-mile wide asteroid named Matilda that count here.
Instead of focusing on how the familiar landmarks we all know and love will crumble to pieces a la 2012 or The Day After Tomorrow or showcasing a new and thoroughly terrifying way to die (think last year’s Contagion), we’re invited to what’s, perhaps, the most disturbing reality TV show of them all, an up-close-and-personal look at how a few residents of the Garden State ultimately choose to live their final weeks.
For whatever reason, the affable Steve Carell (Crazy Stupid Love) continues to gravitate toward lovable loser characters, and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is no exception. This time around, he’s a preppy-attired sad sack named Dodge, an insurance salesman who claims he only got married to his wife Linda (Carell’s real-life wife, Nancy) so he wouldn’t have to die alone.
And then in a twist of irony that would’ve actually made that annoying Alanis Morissette song from the mid ‘90s ring true, Linda has no intention of spending her final weeks with her husband. In fact, as they hear the devastating news together on the car radio, she bursts into tears, opens the passenger door and sprints into the forest, leaving Dodge to deal with the apocalypse on his own.
Naturally, everyone, including Dodge, has a different way of coping with the eventual death sentence. Dodge’s pal Warren (Rob Corddry, TV’s Community) drowns his sorrow in copious amounts of alcohol and daydreams of how much “action” his single pals are getting, while Dodge’s sweet cleaning lady goes the whole denial route. While she could be spending the extra hours with her family, her weekly routine of Windex-ing and vacuuming makes her feel like all is right in the world.
Strangely enough, Dodge also embraces the regular 9-to-5 routine, and let’s just say, his insurance calls are a little more entertaining with the end drawing near. But when one of his co-workers leaps off the building and his body winds up on Dodge’s windshield, he’s seriously jolted and more keenly aware of how he'd better make the most of these last moments. So when his neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley, A Dangerous Method) is crying outside his apartment’s window, he tries to do the right thing, rather than simply ignoring her and resuming his pity party.
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