Monday, June 25, 2012

'Seeking a Friend for the End of the World'

I thought the preview looked interesting, but Betsy Sharkey says it's a dud: "Review: 'Seeking a Friend for the End of the World' crashes":

The drama and romance of "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World," starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley, starts imploding long before the massive asteroid hurtling toward Earth is due to deliver annihilation.

At least it's an ambitious misfire from the filmmaker, screenwriter Lorene Scafaria making a rocky directing debut. The movie ponders what people would do with their final days if the end were a fait accompli. Will anarchy reign or will humanity win out? Will Dodge (Carell) and Penny (Knightley), relative strangers living in the same apartment building, find each other, and love, before the planet and the asteroid collide? Or will they die alone? Lots of potential for a really tragic love story — from here to eternity, literally.

But by the time the answers come around, so much has gone wrong — with the film as well as the world — it's hard to care. Scafaria, who made such a splash with her cheeky screenplay adaptation of "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist" in 2008, is simply over her head here.

The troubles begin with the casting choices. What must have seemed like a perfect fit in Carell — those doleful eyes and a slight smile — is not even close. This already restrained actor is completely shut down as Dodge, the resigned-to-his-fate man in the spotlight. For the versatile Knightley, usually so at home in whatever she's handed — from "Pride & Prejudice" to "Pirates of the Caribbean" — the fit has perhaps never been worse. As Penny, a funky artist type who collects vinyl records and dresses in thrift-store chic, she is either nodding off (there's some sort of loose explanation of the medical condition early on) or flailing around, and neither suits her.
Actually, that "fit" thingy did cross my mind. Perhaps Knightly might stick to pirate movies.