The Movie Waffler New Release Review - Seeking a Friend for the End of the World | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Directed by: Lorene Scafaria
Starring: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Adam Brody, Connie Britton

With the planet due to be destroyed by an approaching meteor, Carell sets off with neighbour Knightley to be reunited with the love of his life.
In the sixties and seventies, movies like "Easy Rider" and "Two Lane Blacktop" turned the road movie into the sub-genre of choice for film-makers looking to explore existential themes. In the eighties, with the likes of "Midnight Run", "The Sure Thing" and "Planes, Trains & Automobiles", the idea of putting two disparate characters together in a vehicle became a comedy staple. Scafaria's movie is somewhere in between the two yet fails to achieve the objectives of either.
This sort of movie lives or dies by the relationship of it's central characters. Though they both deliver fine performances, Carell and Knightley just don't convince as a would be couple. The age difference isn't the problem for me, it's the lack of chemistry. Knightley's character only seems to be in love with herself while Carell is a lovesick puppy, pining for her till she inevitably comes around. Had this been a tale of unrequited love it would have been a far more effective film. There's a scene which had me mentally punching the air in delight as I though it was a magnificently daring way to end the movie. Sadly there was another fifteen minutes left and the actual climax is a cliched letdown which sucks any genuine romance out of the story.
The idea of racing to be with the one you love when the apocalypse hits is covered far better in Steve De Jarnett's overlooked "Miracle Mile" but the movie this reminded me of most was George Romero's "Diary of the Dead". There are scenes lifted wholesale such as an encounter with a group of survivalists and a moment of elation at finding alcohol in an abandoned home. Romero's film is by far the funnier of the two.
Unfortunately "Seeking a Friend..." is a road movie that focuses too much on reaching it's destination rather than taking in the sights along the way. It's a by the numbers trip which, despite a few stops for gas, is ultimately running on empty.