Well, this is different. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) stars Steve Carell as Dodge Petersen, and Keira Knightley as Penny. The film opens with the revelation that a humongous asteroid named ‘Matilda’ is on a collision course with Earth, and there are now no options left to stop the end of the world for all life on Earth. Dodge’s wife runs off and leaves him (literally), and Dodge and others around take varying views on how to look at life, now that they all know that life is ending in three weeks. Dodge and Penny end up taking a road trip, getting to know each other, and meeting many other people who are also dealing with the inevitable in their own way.
This was an odd film, and I’ll tell you why. I thought the premise was interesting. If you know me at all by now, I’m fairly tired of formulaic story plots. I also love sociology. A premise where you have two protagonists dealing with the truth of the world ending, as well as experiencing how the rest of the human population deals with this sad fact, is interesting. If you knew you were going to die, what would you do? It’s an interesting premise, ripe with possibilities. I like Steve Carell and Keira Knightley — they’re interesting actors. The film also features performances by Nancy Carell, William Petersen, Connie Britton, Patton Oswalt, Rob Corddry, Gillian Jacobs, Amy Schumer, and Martin Sheen. Should be a win-win.
I didn’t like this film, which I will also tell you why. At times, it’s charming and tender. The acting performances by the supporting is well-done. The film is filled by what I would best term “melancholy satire.” However, personally, Carell’s acting was so lethargic and life-draining, I couldn’t take much more of it. I understand that writer and director Lorene Scafaria wanted the Dodge Petersen character to be down in the dumps. After all, his wife left him and the world is ending. However, didn’t I already see Carell act similarly in Little Miss Sunshine, Dan in Real Life, and Crazy, Stupid, Love? His performance, although acted well, sucked the life and energy out of me. Call me a heathen, but it just didn’t work for me.