R, 1 hr. 40 min. Directed By: Lorene Scafaria. Release Date: Jun 22, 2012.
I’ve written in the pages of this blog that I suffer from dysthymia, a chronic form of depression in which the low moods appear and last for years. My ongoing record is seven years and counting. Seven years in which I’ve struggled to put a smile on my face and just survive. Five years ago, a very unhelpful shrink threw another Greco-ish word in my face: anhedonia an inability to feel pleasure. I took moderate, but passing, um, hedonia, in dropping his ass. Now, I kind of dispute his diagnosis. On daily basis, joy has disappeared from my life, but I look forward to occasional moments, usually very far apart. A few minutes of happiness that don’t last, but I look forward to them. Am I just a mopey person? Possibly, although I think Kristen Stewart has me beat. I can at least pretend that everything’s okay. What I’m mostly doing is painting a picture for you, to give you a comparison.
I do this so when I saw this was one of the most depressing movies ever, believe me that I have a measuring stick with which to draw comparison. It’s not depressing because of the subject matter, but only because the dialogue is so terrible. Seeking a Friend For the End of the World has these wonderful moments that are sprinkled across the run time, almost as if someone used a RonCo flavor injector on the movie, but it didn’t disperse the flavor throughout the film. Those RonCoed moments are funny, charming, or brilliant. Sometimes they highlight the human being at its very best (like the scene on the beach) and sometimes they remind me why I shouldn’t have children (the whole first 25 minutes or so and anything involving Lance Corporal Speck – sorry, but the guy’s a total douchenugget). However, when stuff isn’t actually happening and Penny (Knightley) and Dodge (Carell) start talking amongst themselves, I wished it was me who had a meteor hurtling at them.
There are parts of this movie that are worth watching, and if you’re going to watch a movie that involves the Earth getting bitch slapped by a meteor, pick this one. But, the sort of odd-couple romance that blooms here feels off, and we’ve seen both of the leads play variants on this theme before. Once upon a time, both Knightley and Carell were box office draws for me, but this might be the death of that ardor.
In some ways, you could consider Seeking a character study of humanity: and in that, I think, it merits a little more attention. In the face of adversity, what are people really like? Can we lower the socially and culturally-created shields that separate us from the people around us? This movie leaned toward the positive approach, and even cynical me is inclined to agree, although the agreement is hopeful rather than practical. These apocalyptic movies always suggest that my cynicism and lack of faith in humanity might be an act, because each of them has that moment, where it’s clear this is happening and I feel a sense of something akin to… loss, maybe? Can I say the end is nigh if I’m all mopey and soul-searching after the end of a mediocre and predictable movie?
Oh, did anyone else feel like this was a bit too much like the scene from Titanic. Also, if anyone knows who painted the painting in Steve Carell’s living room in this movie, I want a print of it, so please let me know.