Wednesday, January 30, 2013
At the Movies - Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
And now on to other disasters.
An asteroid is hurtling toward the earth, and Dodge (Steve Carell) is looking for love. But not just any love, as evidenced by his dismissal of an eager and willing floozy (Rose of "Two and a Half Men" fame) foisted upon him by his best friend's (Rob Corddry) wife (Connie Britton), a woman who later propositions him in the haze of a drug-laced we're-all-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket-anyway orgy. Dodge's wife has run out on him - literally - and he's looking for something more before he meets his maker.
His wish seems to be granted in the form of the similarly lovelorn Penny (Keira Knightley), a younger woman who just happens to have an unopened letter from Dodge's first love, Olivia. Together they flee their riot-ridden city, embarking upon a journey to find Olivia and reunite Penny with her parents. (Brief pause here to insert obvious joke about "getting out of Dodge" and lucky pennies.) Their undeniably dark, gently comic quest connects them to a clutch of quirky characters, most of whom have already surrendered to their imminent doom. By contrast, Dodge and Penny shine as the bright spots, his earnest self-deprecation and her romantic optimism blending to offer hope to the hopeless. Slow-moving but tender, their story lends heart to the often unforgiving world of science fiction, emerging with an ending more moving than that of a rosier but less ambitious film. Indeed, the final scene makes you wonder if Dodge has, in fact, (and here we go again with the wonky wordplay) "dodged" the asteroid, or, if not the rock itself, then the demons that it represents.