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Trailer Review: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

By / Posted on 06 March 2012

Seeking A Friend for the End of the WorldAn asteroid is careening towards the Earth. Efforts to stop it—which we can only imagine being of the 1998 Bruce Willis/Ben Affleck feature Armageddon variety—have failed. The end is nigh. Everybody on the planet knows they only have three weeks left to live, so what do they do with their last days? That’s more or less the set-up for Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, the upcoming disaster rom-com from Focus Features starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley.

Now taking bets on how far into the film before we hear R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” in the film. I’m betting the exact moment the Focus Features logo begins to fade from the screen, even before the cold open. And again every time anybody turns on a radio. And somebody will be whistling it in a taxi or on a bus. And once more in the end credits, just for good measure.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is written and directed by Lorene Scafaria, who wrote the adapted screenplay for Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist as well as… hmm… that’s about it. She co-wrote one episode of the Rob Corddry/David Wain late night black comedy Children’s Hospital with her friend Diablo Cody and one of Scafaria’s original songs was featured in Drew Barrymore’s 2009 coming-of-age film Whip It!. That’s pretty much all the internet can tell us about Lorene Scafaria. We can’t even judge her voice from the one movie under her belt because Nick & Nora was adapted from a popular novel (though, to be fair, The Social Network was an adaptation and played pretty well into Aaron Sorkin’s established screenwriting vernacular) so forgive us for being a bit skeptical about what we’re walking into with this film.

The trailer shows off an impressive ensemble cast, with the likes of Melanie Lynsky, Patton Oswalt, Rob Huebel, Rob Corddry and Gillian Jacobs, guaranteeing that at least the film will bring its fair share of chuckles, and it’s fun to see the juxtaposition of people trying to maintain a sense of normalcy during the end of days versus those living it up like a three-week-long frat party. We like the emotional storylines displayed—Steve Carell searching for his first love and Keira Knightley looking to see her mother one more time before everyone dies—but there’s the all-too-tempting threat of these two wacky neighbors finding comfort in each other, which is heartwarming and fluffy but cliché and overdone. That said, there is an impressive display of action and eye-catching setpiece work throughout the trailer, so hopes are definitely veering toward the high end of the expectations range.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World certainly looks to be an ambitious directorial debut from the relatively untested Scafaria, but the production values displayed here show that Focus Features have put their faith in her to tell a compelling and beautiful story about humanity. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World opens in the United States on June 22nd.

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Derrick Sanskrit has produced critically-acclaimed work as an artist and writer for Nerve, Babble, Pitchfork, The Onion and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, among others. He founded The Pop Aesthetic during the coldest months of his life in 2010.