Year: 2012 | Directed by: Lorene Scafaria | Roundup Rating: B+
Considering there'a huge pile up of movies in my closet that needs to be taken cared of before another year ends I've decided to watch films all day. And in this particular day -- after a few minutes stint of The Walking Dead episode 1 season 1 -- I had the sudden urge to pick this Steve Carell and Keira Knightley movie on a random basis.
First of all, I have no high hopes for this movie. In my opinion, it's a Hollywood comedy and that's all there is to it. You've seen one, you've seen them all. Basically it's the same reason for me deciding to delay watching it for about a year. But if there is something true about first opinions is that they are more often wrong than not, they don't last and they could even surprised you. I was remissed about this whole movie. At first I thought it was going to be one of those blockbuster comedy hits that people keep on talking about but ended up really forgettable despite of their good reviews. Seeking a Friend (well the title is really a mouthful so we'll just cut it down for this blog) is an enjoyable comedy film with a pulse of reality and a heart.
Imagine if the world is coming to an end because an asteroid is set to struck down on earth what would you do? This is the central subject of the movie, a grim one at that, but our main characters Dodge (Carell) and Penny (Knightley) showed us what is really important in life when you are near the inevitable end of everything, without losing all the humor and fun within the story. Dodge was abandoned by his wife and suddenly becomes nostalgic about the one that got away. Penny on the other hand is a romantic who wants to be with her family before the apocalypse. The two set on a journey to find Dodge's first love and to find Penny a plane to take her home. I'm not really good with story telling so I'll skip writing the plot and instead say what I really think about the movie.
First, all the scenarios were perfect. I think people would do crazy things once they knew that the world is coming to an end. They would quit their jobs, shut down their businesses, leave their partners, have meaningless sex with someone, let their childrens drink liquor, vandalized the streets, set fire on properties and so forth. Everyone dying at the same time means that no one is going to be left behind. Married or unmarried you won't die alone. But even though we do act crazy it's our desire to be with the people that we care about or love that takes the top hat as our number one priority in life. The story is funny but the comedy doesn't take away the reality.
I love how unexpected Carell and Knightley's chemistry was. In the story it shows us that it's not how long you knew people but how you connect with them. You can be with someone for a really long time and yet you might not mesh together with them. He's old and miserable, she is young and cheerful, they don't seem to click right away but it's their inner vibes, their connection and ability to understand each other that makes them really compatible. Sometimes you look at people and you think that you have nothing in common with them only to be amazed at your conversations that there is something more to that person than meets the eye. He can be boring to others but you still like him anyway.
Because this is a comedy what I had in mind at first is that the asteroid is going to be a fluke and that the day of reckoning is only for show since our lead cast found love during such a hopeless time and place. But our writer did not fall trap to the machinations of the usual Hollywood formula. Instead it went straight ahead with the plan. Spoiler alert, our characters died but I think it's for a real happily ever after since they spend their last day's together side by side, in-love with each other, with a happy smile on their faces. What more can you ask for? It's the perfect ending to a really good story, couple with a lovely song by Burt Bacharach.
The song selection for this movie is also fantastic. Most of the tracks is a reminiscent of the good old days of vinyl since Penny loves records a lot and you can see her carrying some throughout the movie. But my favorite tracks are the closing theme by Burt Bacharach and the song by The Hollies. On the actors, Keira Knightley is comically endearing, this time around she is not your usual go-to girl for classic novels, she is a mess, someone you can relate to for a change, and she couldn't even get away from speeding even with her face. Steve Carell is more on a drama side for this movie, which is a good thing because actor's are supposed to be versatile and that's what we get from him here.
All in all, I think this is going down to be one of my favorite quirky romantic-comedy movies, it's sweet and strange and it stayed true to its comedy roots without being typical. So that's it. I wish you'll give this movie a shot. Watch it when you have the time and I assure you that you'll really enjoy it as much as I did.