Seeking a Friend Not the Usual Disaster Film
- Friday, June 22, 2012
Thanks to the not-so-lovable loser in her life, her boyfriend (Adam Brody, Scream 4), Penny has now missed the last plane (ever!) to England, where her family happens to live. Without an opportunity to say goodbye to the ones she loves so much, Penny is clearly inconsolable. Well, until Dodge offers a possible solution, namely a friend with an airplane who might be able to help.
As Dodge and Penny get to know each other better, Penny discovers that Dodge is a man with many sorrows of his own. Not only has he been estranged from his father for more than 25 years after his dad ditched him and his mother, he’s also pining for one last chance to reconnect with his high school sweetheart—the “one who got away.” While she can’t necessarily help with the whole father/son dynamic, Penny offers her assistance on the lost love front. So before they seek out the friend with a plane, apparently, an old-fashioned road trip is in order.
Now considering their backgrounds (he’s funny in a subtle way, she’s the queen of the corset) and that Carell is about two decades older than Knightley, a fact the screenplay doesn’t shy away from, one would naturally assume this odd little pairing wouldn’t work. But for whatever reason, the clever script with plenty of heart pulls the best out of both of them, and they have some unexpectedly winsome chemistry.
Of course, as anyone who’s ever been on a road trip knows, not everything always goes as planned. In Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, that basically turns out to be the understatement of the year. Not only are Dodge and Penny forced to hitch a ride to South Jersey after their car is no longer drivable, but the guy they end up riding with has an early exit planned for himself, thanks to a hit man he hired.
As expected, there are plenty more hijinks where that came from, and it all plays out in mostly amusing, and occasionally, even touching fashion. What’s curiously missing from the proceedings, however, is anyone questioning—or even wondering about—what might happen after life as they know it draws to a close. While there’s definitely a sense of urgency about embracing what’s meaningful in your final hours, always a timely lesson, we get the sense that these characters believe this event is the final curtain call for humanity—a reality even more depressing than an asteroid destroying the earth in the first place.
- Drugs/Alcohol: Considering the end of the world is nigh, people abuse alcohol and drugs (including heroin) with abandon. We see Penny smoking weed on a couple of occasions.
- Language/Profanity: About a dozen uses of the “f” word, including an instance where a parent tells his school-age child to go f--- himself. God and Jesus’s names are both abused on occasion, and there are a couple of milder profanities, too.
- Sex/Nudity: Crude references to female anatomy. A crude sign that offers sex with a virgin is shown. A married woman kisses a man who isn’t her husband (he doesn’t respond to her advances). Discussion of another married woman’s affair. A couple of references to orgies, not to mention why sex with an impending apocalypse on the horizon is great—no fear of pregnancy or STDs or negative commentary on the size of male anatomy. At a TGI Friday’s-like restaurant called Friendsy’s, the wait staff is overly affectionate with everyone. The female server not only kisses Dodge but Penny, too. Eventually, the staff all starts loving on each other (we see a male server grab another male server’s backside). Dodge and Penny have sex off-screen (he’s regretful, she chalks it up to the obligatory end-of-the-world sex).
- Violence: One of Dodge’s co-workers commits suicide and falls dramatically on Dodge’s windshield with him in the car. A man Dodge and Penny is riding with is shot—and killed—by a hit man. There are a couple of scenes with rioting (buildings and personal property are destroyed in the process).
- Religion/Morals: There are themes of personal sacrifice and do-gooding throughout the movie, but these acts don’t have a spiritual center. When talking about how they could use their remaining time on Earth, one of the things Dodge says he could be doing is “finding God.” A news magazine listing the “Best of Humanity” has Jesus and Oprah sharing top billing. At a party nicknamed “The Last Supper,” Dodge’s drunken friend justifies his behavior by saying “You think Jesus was sober for his Last Supper? Do you think he turned water into lemonade?” A baptism is shown.
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