A Dash Of Armagheddon, A Pinch Of The Bucket List, and A Smidgeon of Due Date

Steve Carell has played various parts over the years, many of which I am not fond of.  His humor on The Office was more annoying than funny to me and rather one dimensional and under developed.  So when I saw he was one of the two major actors in Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World I had already wondered if this movie was worth a trip.  However, I decided to give it a try, not only for Keira Knightley, but for broadening my horizons once more.  What did I think about the movie?  Read on to find out.

In a classic soap opera like tale, Seeking a Friend centers on Dodge (Carell) whose wife has just left after hearing the end of the world is approaching.  The now depressed Dodge, whose life is not the most exciting, decides to spend his last few weeks finding his one true love from so long ago.  Accompanying him for the ride is a weed addicted hypersomniac named Penny (Knightley) who has plans to fly to England to be with her family before catastrophe hits.

At first I rolled my eyes upon hearing yet another drama filled romance movie, especially with the constant flood of these movies.  Yet upon seeing this film I was surprisingly rewarded with a decent film that had a lot of character development and culture presentation than a sappy love story, but more on that later.  Let’s start this review off by talking about the pace of the movie, which I thought at first was slow.  The initial introduction to the impending doom drags at the start, and has very little information that you didn’t get from the trailers.  However, once the journey for Dodge’s love starts the movie finally gets off the ground and the pace begins to pick up, though probably not fast enough for the action lovers.  Perhaps what really drives the pace/story of this movie is the intense character development of Dodge and Penny.  As the two get closer to their destinations, the audience gradually learns more about their background as they meet up with past friends and family they have long forgotten.  Unlike most dramas though, I felt that this movie did not drag on for the development, and kept the information fresh and new.  The story also seemed to naturally unfold as the characters’ past was revealed and somehow seemed to tie into plot and keep the movie going.  They also somehow managed to teach some good morals in the movie, without being too preachy or sappy, at least for the most part.  Instead of having tear filled, sobbing, and over dramatic conversations, they managed to keep the lessons real.   This may also be due to how well Carell and Knightley acted, since both managed to naturally fit into their character roles.  Instead of being an annoying boss spouting one liners one after the other, Carell actually was more down to earth and let his awkwardness and charisma bring out the laughs.  Knightley on the other hand took a stab at the immature romance role that had her playing multiple emotions, all well timed and balanced.

What is even more admirable is that they also managed to capture the reaction and atmosphere of the end of the world.  The team did a nice job capturing the various approaches to the end of the world, which opened up for a lot of comedy situations.  Awkward comedy, misunderstandings, well timed lines and political mannerisms were all in this movie and for those looking for some variety from the constant sex driven one liners, alcoholic rants, and slapstick comedy, you’ve come to the right movie.  However, some of the comedy was a little hard for me to understand so I might have missed some really good laughs.  Regardless the setting, casting, and camera work were all fantastically combined to bring the emotions to life.  At certain points in the movie one wonders just what the two are getting themselves into, while at other points you just enjoy the ride and admire the background.

Despite all the positives of this film though, there are a few negatives I found that were less entertaining.  As mentioned earlier the beginning drags for a while and makes for a rather boring film, which had me dosing off more times than one of my general studies classes.  A second downfall is the rather predictable storyline.  Yes there are a few scenes that have a little mystery and suspense to them, but overall you should be able to guess the ending faster than counting to ten.  Finally the last big weakness is the depressing mood that constantly settles over the entire movie.  Now I should have seen it in the title, but I still thought there would be a little more optimism in the movie.  While Knightley does her best to keep the attitude positive, the countless emotional back issues constantly bring your spirits down.  If that’s your cup of tea, again go for this movie as the depressing mood does keep the realism in check, which helps you get attached to the characters even more.

Seeking a Friend has many elements that make it a good movie to watch and reflect on.  Although not the most entertaining movie comedy wise, those looking for a film with relatable characters may want to give this film a chance.  Again the pace is slow, the plot fairly simple, and there is no magical love story where everything works out in the blink of an eye, but the realistic approach to problems, well timed laughs, and deep character development more than make up for it. I suggest you give this film a theater visit, but definitely worth a Netflix when available.  The scores for this movie are as follows:

Comedy/Drama/Romance:  8.0-8.5

Movie overall:  7.5

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