Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

Directed by: Lorene Scafaria

Produced by: Steve Golin
Joy Gorman
Mark Roybal
Steven M. Rales

Screenplay by: Lorene Scafaria

Starring: Steve Carell
Keira Knightley

Music by: Jonathan Sadoff
Rob Simonsen

Cinematography by: Tim Orr

Editing by: Zene Baker

Studio(s): Mandate Pictures
Indian Paintbrush

Distributed by: Focus Features (United States)
StudioCanal (United Kingdom)

Release date(s): June 22, 2012 (United States)
July 13, 2012 (United Kingdom)

Running time: 101 minutes

Country: United States

Language: English

Production budget: $10 million

Box office revenue (as of publication): $7, 078, 738

Right, folks, todays review is the last one that I will be doing before I leave the country for eighteen days (eleven/twelve in Nice, a week with scout troop to the Isle Of Mann), so, with these circumstances  in account, the work rate will be less consistent and there'll be less reviews. However, while I'm on holiday, I'll be posting my reviews for The Dark Knight Rises and Chill, so I'm not going completely off the record. On a brief side note, I'll no doubt get to watch some movies I already love, and last night, I got watching Y Tu Mama Tambien last night again: what a terrific film, and any movie that has Frank Zappa's Watermelon In Easter Hay over its end credits is a plus in my book. So, if you wish to keep up with my reviews and digressions, keep your eyes posted!

Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World: just ponder that wondrous mouthful of a title. This would be apt description of Dodge's (Steve Carrell) relationship status on Facebook. We begin this film at the beginning of the end, with the last-ditch attempt to stop a seventy-mile-wide asteroid named Matilda having failed. Dodge's wife has left him, and everyone around him has began engaging in raucous drug use and sexual activity, while he remains his usual self. After a chance encounter with his neighbour Penny (Keira Knightley), who is crying on his fire escape, and a failed overdose, which leads to his adopting an abandoned dog (named 'Sorry' after the note tied to it), the three set out to reunite Dodge with his high school sweetheart before the world goes up in smoke.

So, the good, eh? Well, for starters, I have to praise Lorene Scafaria for actually setting out and making a mainstream comedy about the end of the world. Also, while it contains scenes of debauchery and barminess, there is a genuine heart to the movie that means it ends up touching a few nerves past the surface level. In the acting, Steve Carell and Keira Knightley both sell this movie, and ensure that it contains a sense of legitimacy. Both are cast playing their positives, but it never crosses over into lazy acting. Carell is both humorous and endearing, while Knightley, playing a potentially annoying kooky character, is wholly charming. Also, technically it is solidly shot, and Lorene Scafaria as a director seizes the reigns of a movie that could just completely go, pardon the pun, off the plot. Finally, while the script is flawed (which I will get into), it has a poignant denouement that strikes a satisfying emotive chord, and Scafaria's best trait seems to be writing a scene that just revolves around the two leads squabbling. It is in effect an end of the world film meeting television sit-com humour in an interesting mix.

However, as I said, the script has its problems. Much of the second act comes across as padding that gets us simply from point to point, merely to string together the film's stronger moments. People turn up and disappear, and whole plot points are conjured from thin air and disposed of within a few minutes of their introduction. Considering the films positives, these scenes stand out like sore thumbs and do nothing to add anything to the proceedings. Also, while Zene Baker is obviously hired to carry out his director's artistic intent, you do feel that there is a lot of pandering going on, and more vigilance should have been shown in thinning out the film's unnecessarily long running time. Finally, the music does, on numerous occasions, enter into the territory of the Emotional Heartstring Orchestra, and I don't like being told how I should be feeling: most of the movie is strong enough for me to get the point!

It is a movie that has a flawed script, an editor lacking in vigilance and an overt score infected with a case of EHO. However, Seeking A Friend At The End Of The World is a satisfying oddity which delivers some great sit-com humour, and mixed with the whole 'end of the world' concept, it makes for an interesting blend. Furthermore, Steve Carell and Keira Knightley bring weight to the proceedings, adding legitimate humour, funny dialogue and a genuinely poignant sweet heart. It is a shame that the film doesn't deliver more on it's promises, but as it stands, it is an entertaining black comedy.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 6.5/10

The Thin White Dude's Self-Diagnois - Disgruntled (reviewing with a television on and two other people in the room can be a test (especially when they are on their phones and iPads at the same time: talk about overstimulation, learn to be bored!)!

P.S. My good friend at Danland Movies was present whilst I reviewed this movie, and being his silly predictable self, laughed at a record cover with '69' featured prominently on the front of it. To his defence, I was making 'Mandate Pictures' jokes at the start of the film, so I can't play the straight man to his funny man, we're both equally retarded and juvenile!

P.P.S. The trailers are getting put back up: oversight on my part!

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