Written by / 6/24/2012 / No comments / , , , , ,

SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD

FINDING A DREAM FRIEND Year: 2012 SCORE: ***1/2
A dark comedy usually depends on how funny we humans remain during a serious situation. Well in that case here’s the mother of all dark comedies... Planet Earth's got twenty-one days until a giant asteroid wipes out the entire population.

Beginning with Steve Carell’s mellow everyman Dodge listening to a radio report – the space shuttle attempting to blow up the asteroid has failed (perhaps a nod to DEEP IMPACT and ARMAGEDDEN) and now it’s just a matter of time. Oddly enough, Dodge’s workplace insurance company is still going – there’s a few glum people dressed casually while other workers leap from the building top. And Dodge’s girlfriend just left him so he’s got a little more to sulk about. Scenes with Dodge at a party, where kids drink booze and heroin’s treated like a shot of tequila, provide visual punchlines to how society just doesn’t care anymore. Especially Dodge, waiting for death till fate gives him a personal reprieve in the form of his beautiful apartment neighbor, Penny, played by elfin beauty Keira Knightley, adds an essential spice but her daffy quirkiness gets annoying – especially during the impending road trip where, after a suspenseful scene involving a rioting mob, Dodge and Penny seek his long lost girlfriend and a plane that can get her back home. Before that we're treated with character-actor cameos by Patton Oswalt as an optimistic party animal; William Peterson as a lonely truck driver with a secret up his sleeve; Melanie Lynskey as a possible hookup for Dodge; and his sarcastic best friend played by the always-hilarious Rob Corddry: There's a point (during the final act) where the energy fades and we’re left with Penny's overlong diatribes, halting the pace. And Carell’s one-note stunned deer in headlights expression doesn’t always help matters. But as a whole, these two characters successfully represent hope in a literally dying world, and by the end you’ll feel fitfully vacant in the outcome that, for better or worse, couldn’t have concluded any other way.
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