The end — when it comes — arrives by cell phone, a text message virus that crashes servers and tips our wired-in/dialed-up civilization into collapse. Anarchy begins, bikers and gun nuts and rogue National Guardsman run the show.
But if we’re lucky, with the sort of luck that only exists in the movies, we’ll have friends in Northern California — survivalists. Because when the grid goes down, it’s the folks already living off the grid who have the best chance at “riding out the apocalypse.”
“Goodbye World” is about a group of eight friends who hunker down when society’s simmering rage blows up. And since it’s a movie, they’re all really good looking friends, played by the likes of Kerry Bishe’, Adrian Grenier, Gaby Hoffman and Scott Mescudi.
And since it’s an indie film — a parable, if you will — everybody on that hilltop falls into a “type,” to make for better debates, better mixing and matching when old flames re-flicker and old grudges, ideologies and rivalries are revived.
Survivalists James (Grenier, of “Entourage”) and Lily (Kerry Bishe’, “Sex and the City”) dropped out years before, choosing to raise their little girl in a place with its own water, solar power, tillable land and hippie co-op minded neighbors.
Christian Libertarian Becky (Caroline Dhavernas) and Lily’s ex-web business partner Nick (Ben McKenzie) have just arrived in their Volvo SUV when the social breakdown happens.
Benji (Mark Webber) is a perpetual student radical, a “revolution is our moral obligation” lecturer who shows up with his latest coed conquest (Remy Nozik). Benji’s worst predictions are coming true.
And D.C. insider Laura (Gaby Hoffman of “Veronica Mars”) stumbles into old computer whiz/hacker pal Lev (Scott Mescudi) on her way to this sanctuary in the foothills of the High Sierras.
They drink, smoke a lot of dope and hot-tub together until the bickering starts, until old feelings bubble up and then the true limits of their Libertarian lifestyle are revealed. It’s all fine until others have a need for something only they have, and then men with guns and no moral compass show up.
As societal breakdown dramedies go, “Goodbye World” is pretty mild-mannered stuff. Mercifully zombie free, it throws a generation that has only been tested by a rough job market up against basic tenets of civilization — what they mean and what can happen when you apply idealism to people who don’t share those ideals.
It’s a glib script, with college reunion movie conventions — a “talent show” where they sing their favorite hip hop, a “What are you going to miss the most?” dinner conversation.
“I’m really going to miss NASA.”
Film buffs will see “Goodbye World” as a sort of “Trigger Effect” meets “Return of the Secaucus Seven” — growing up, learning to look at the world through more jaded adult eyes as the world ends.
It’s not a bad concept, even if it is a weary one, thanks to all the world is ending movies and TV shows that pepper the culture these days. But it’s a thin and utterly predictable movie, with just a few scenes that crackle, few memorable lines and not a lot of sparks — romantic or otherwise — set off by the young and attractive cast. Thus, “Goodbye World” should trek straight from theaters onto the SyFy channel long before The End comes.
MPAA Rating: unrated, with violence, pot and alcohol abuse, profanity
Cast: Adrien Grenier, Gaby Hoffman, Ben McKenzie, Kerry Bishe, Scott Mescudi
Credits: Directed by Denis Hennelly, written by Denis Hennelly and Sarah Adina Smith . A Samuel Goldwyn release.
Running time: 1:41