This week we saw Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. I can honestly say I went into this movie with an open mind. I was curious to see how an apocalyptic story could be turned into a romantic comedy. I had heard mixed reviews so I definitely gave it a fair chance.
The story follows Dodge (Steve Carrell), an insurance salesman, on a journey to find his high school sweetheart as the end of the world approaches. In the final two weeks of his time on earth, he finds a friend in his peculiar neighbor, Penny (Keira Knightley).
I understood the choice to paint a traumatic situation in ironically cheery light; however, it came across like a struggle for classification. There was not an overarching tone. The content and style would be completely lighthearted and would then turn somber in a matter of moments. This could be argued as a unique artistic choice but I found it to be unsettling. At times I would not know whether to laugh or cry. While this can actually be a wonderful sensation when watching a film, in this case, it left me uneasy and uncertain.
However, I respected the performances by both, Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley. It was refreshing seeing Keira Knightley in a quirky, free spirited role. She brought truth to a character that could have easily come across as a caricature. And Steve Carrell, as always, does a marvelous job in his humorous yet fully fleshed out character. I must say, while the actors’ individual performances were enjoyable, the chemistry between the two was far-fetched. I had trouble buying the older insurance salesman falling for the younger, musician’s girlfriend in a matter of two weeks.
Though I do appreciate the ultimate message of the film that love is all you need in the end, I wish it could have been presented in a more poignant way. I enjoyed the movie on the most superficial level but I cannot help but feel it was a mediocre attempt at a witty, cross-genre picture.