Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Theatrical Release: 6/22/2012
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter
Writer: Lorene Scafaria
Producer: Steve Golin
Director: Lorene Scafaria
Runtime: 101 min.
MPAA Rating: R
Starring: Steve Carell,
A 70-mile-wide asteroid is en route to Earth, and the last best attempt to counter it has failed. Also failing is the marriage of soft-spoken insurance salesman Dodge; the breaking news that the world will end in an estimated 21 days cues his wife to leave him on the spot.
Dodge is a man who has always played by the rules of life, while his neighbor Penny is an extroverted woman who hasn't. When a riot breaks out around their apartment building, Dodge realizes that he must seek his high school sweetheart before it's too late while Penny makes the decision to spend her last days with family in England.
On the road together, the unlikely traveling companions' respective personal journeys accelerate, and their outlooks - if not the world's - brighten. Starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley.
To its credit, this movie encourages the viewer to reflect on what he or she would do if one knew the earth was going to be destroyed by an asteroid in weeks. Who would you call? How would you act? Would you do things you normally don't do? On the other hand, the content is pretty strong in this picture which we will get to momentarily.
Steve Carell manages to elicit a few laughs with his unique and dry sense of humor but at the same time this movie is downright depressing in spots, as various characters deal with unhappiness and the knowledge that their unfulfilled dreams will remain...unfulfilled. There is an exception though and this is where Dodge (Carell) comes in. His wife has left him to be with someone else, and she left once the news broke about earth's time running out. He thinks about a former high school sweetheart that he misses and he makes up his mind to visit her before the coming Apocalypse. However, a young woman named Penny (Keira Knightley) enters his life one night as looting and violence is breaking out in the neighborhood and Dodge's life is soon changed for good, for what time he has left. Penny is a hopeless romantic as her parents are and her "caution to the wind" personality meshes nicely with Dodge's practical and conservative life style. He has been an insurance agent with the same company for years.
Dodge, upon learning his former high school flame just attempted to get a letter to him three weeks earlier, drives to her home with Penny along but when he reaches the woman's house he realizes he has a decision to make. The plot is basically a "doomsday romance" story. Unfortunately, despite some good themes in this film, the language is strong as is the drug usage which takes place (including a woman about to shoot up heroin) and the film also contains a few moments of strong violence. For these reasons we can't award the movie our Dove "Family-Approved" Seal.
Sex: A married woman kisses another man but he stops her; a comment about "pity sex" or in other words someone having sex because they feel sorry for someone else; a few innuendos and crude slang is used.; a crude comment written on a wall about having sex with a virgin but the "F" word is used; a couple have implied sex and the woman tells the man she wants him to be her "last"; a woman seems about ready to perform oral sex on a man under a table in a restaurant when he jumps up and leaves; kissing; a "horny" comment.
Language: A lot of language including "J" and "OMG" as well as multiple uses of the "F" word and a slang word used twice for female genitalia as well as a slang used for male genitalia.
Violence: An object is thrown through a window; a man lands on a car windshield, breaking it, after jumping to his death; men are seen with clubs; fires are started; gunshots are heard; a man is shot in the neck and dies and a bloody wound is seen on his neck.
Drugs: The possession of and smoking of marijuana; a person brings heroin to a party and a woman is about to shoot up before the scene changes; drinking in several scenes; a young girl is allowed to drink alcohol, supposedly because the world is going to end anyways; a character is seen with a cigar; smoking; a couple of characters drink cough syrup with codeine in it for the high; a character is seen with "uppers" (pills which keep someone up or energetic); a question that asks, "Is that the weed kicking in?"
Other: A character flips off another character; we see a man beginning to vomit; a man who has wine asks, "Do you think Jesus wasn't drunk for his last supper?" which no doubt will upset some viewers; man says Jesus didn't turn the water into lemonade; panic from an upcoming apocalypse; a man commits suicide by jumping and we only see his landing briefly (and suddenly) on a car windshield; another man dies after hiring a man to kill him; a woman worries that a single man will die alone; a few jump scenes.