There are plenty of “end of the world” iterations in cinema, each seemingly more extreme than the last, but Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is refreshing solely since it isn’t outrageous. It starts abruptly, with Dodge (the how-can-you-not-love-him? Steve Carell) being left by his wife Linda (Nancy Carell). Following Dodge roam around New York City, we get to see how the general public is handling the apocalyptic news. There’s “Best of Humanity” magazines for sale, Last Supper parties, folks hiring hitmen so they won’t have to wait to go down with the rest of the planet. Dodge himself is torn between a sense of normalcy and accepting his fate. He’s one of a handful of people still working at his office, where senior titles are now literally up for grabs, though he tries to convince his housekeeper to quit, for example.
Dodge then meets his neighbor, Penny (Keira Knightley), who’s missed her flight to see her family abroad. Escaping a riot outside their apartment, the two make a deal: Penny will drive Dodge to find his high school sweetheart and Dodge will connect Penny with his friend who has a plane. The relationship between Dodge and Penny (and the casting of Carell and Knightley) was troublesome, but as I continue to mull the couple over, I still can’t put a finger on why it bothered me. Is it the speed at which their friendship progresses? The extreme example of opposites attracting? The way Knightley looks constipated throughout all of World?
One of my biggest cinematic pet peeves is films that feature inconsistent title cards, and World is guilty. When it begins, the screen fills with the text “21 days,” letting viewers know there are this many days left till the killer-asteroid Matilda hits. (Side-note: I like to imagine that director Lorene Scafaria chose the name Matilda having been scarred by the movie. Plausible, right?) We see a few more countdowns early in the film, but the title cards stop. Next thing you know, the end is near with no overt warning as in the beginning. Why bother with title cards at all?
Blame it on the rain or my Toasted Graham Latte, but I’m rambling. Listen, the two main reasons to watch world are for the random one liners and the supporting cast. With quotes like, “You got alotta guns and alotta potato chips,” it’s hard not to crack a smile several times during World. Throw in Jim O’Heir (Dammit Jerry!), a brunette, middle-part and heroin-loving Amy Schumer, Gillian Jacobs, Connie Britton, Rob Corddry, Adam Brody, and a scene stealing TJ Miller and you’ve got… well, it’s not the last movie on earth I’d want to see, but I’d see it again.