Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lorene Scafaria: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Steve Carrell, Keira Knightley, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Focus Features, 2012,

Guiding the comical tidings of yet another Armageddon tale, writer-director Lorene Scafaria displays enough charm and talent to barely keep her afloat. The romantic misadventures of a sadsack and a kook are injected by cast and creator with a spunky inanity which works most of the time.

Scafaria, tangentially talented at telling modern love stories, juggles surreal comic sequences with cliches, sight gags, zingers, and emotion. Not all of it comes across clear; what does is delightful in an escapist sort of way.

Casting us into a last days scenario which oddly works, Scafaria balances it all out. She previously scripted the guilty pleasure Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist; here, she works a similar magic; a modern love story which is simultaneously zany and moving.

Her real strength here is her leads: Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley seem an oddly matched pair, but their burgeoning chemistry is definitely something to behold. Carrell's filmic personality fits snugly into Scafaria's loveable loser who decides to take his life into his own hands. This is a strength as well as a weakness. Knightley slips smoothly into her fractured character with a fun that belies her gifts as a serious actress.

The rest of the cast is strong; Tim Orr's camerawork is gorgeously etched; its the script which devolves and putters out; while it holds together it certainly is something a little askew.

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