Eric Kohn‘s pan of Lorene Scafaria‘s Seeking A Friend For The End of The World (Focus, 6.22) is a little too cerebral and tap-dancy, so here’s what my son Dylan told me after catching a screening last week: “It’s a shitty movie. Scafaria doesn’t seem invested in the idea of an asteroid about to hit the earth…she just wants to end the world for any reason. And none of the characters are interested in trying to survive. It feels like nothing. I just wanted the asteroid to come and kill everyone.”
The film “valiantly tries to inject a familiar premise with renewed emotional discernment and instead flails about in search of it,” Kohn writes. “The directorial debut of screenwriter Lorene Scafaria (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist), Seeking a Friend follows a pair of would-be lovers on a meandering road trip that takes place in the weeks leading up to the destruction of the Earth, a tried-and-true set-up that provides a simple backdrop for exploring lost souls in search of meaning in their final days.
“While smartly observant in individual moments, Scafaria’s thinly conceived story fails to deepen its scenario beyond the basic allegorical possibilities of the oncoming apocalypse.
“Cast in the same disaffected everyman role he embodies to a fault every time out, Steve Carrell plays somber insurance salesman Dodge, whose wife promptly abandons him upon news of Earth’s imminent demise. With 21 days to go before the cataclysmic event, Seeking a Friend launches Dodge’s titular mission through a series of title cards that lead up to the final moments. That recurring device creates the perception of a gradual build to an expected revelatory payoff, but the movie never rises to the challenge. In the process of relying alternately on poetic restraint and gags, the film’s emotional grounding slowly dissipates.”