'Seeking a Friend for the End of the World': What the Critics are Saying
The doomsday romantic comedy starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley is praised for its "sharp script and bittersweet humor."
Written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World opens on June 22. The apocalyptic romantic comedy centers on two lonely neighbors (Steve Carell, Keira Knightley) who decide to set out on a road trip to reconnect with their past before the world ends.
While some reviews praised the film for its bittersweet humor, what most agreed on is that the movie’s screenplay softens a little towards the end.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Stephen Dalton says, “The end of the word is nigh in this enjoyably offbeat rom-com from the first-time writer-director Lorene Scafaria.” He adds “with its sharp script and bittersweet humor, the audacious premise feels fresh enough to earn a large word-of-mouth audience among moviegoers who normally would avoid a more conventional rom-com, potentially becoming a left-field breakout hit in the mode of Juno or Little Miss Sunshine.”
Eric Kohn from Indiewire criticizes the film saying that it “valiantly tries to inject a familiar premise with renewed emotional discernment and instead flails about in search of it.” He does appreciate that “before Seeking a Friend stumbles, however, it pitches a tone between comedy and tragedy that holds unique appeal.”
Entertainment Weekly’s Lisa Schwarzbaum describes Seeking a Friend as a movie that “ponders human behavior in the face of impending oblivion with an idiosyncratic, explosion-free bitter sweetness I haven't seen since — well, since Don McKellar's excellent, bittersweet 1999 end-of-the-world reverie, Last Night.”
Christy Lemire from Associated Press reports that the film has its moments, some buoyed by inspired casting. Lemire says that “among the best scenes takes place at the beginning: an end-of-the-world party Dodge's friend Warren (Rob Corddry) and his wife (Connie Britton) throw, where civilized, middle-aged people cavort in wild ways because ... why not? Nothing matters anymore. But enjoyably odd moments like these give way to sentimentality by the end. Her overall impression? “They have to tidy things up before the end - and the film's ending itself feels too tidy, as well.”
Time Out critic Joshua Rothkopf criticizes the movie by pointing out that “the casting is spectacularly wrong, and even on its own scant merits, writer-director Lorene Scafaria’s screenplay has little insight into apocalyptic licentiousness, barring a tart line or two.”
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