Goodbye World director Denis Hennelly has acknowledged the influence of Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill on his own film, in which old college chums gather at the largely self-contained mountain house of James (Adrian Grenier, sporting a beard that just looks so slappable) and Lily (Kerry Bishé, who can totally do better) on the eve of a “large-scale cyber attack” that collapses the nation’s infrastructure.
The Big Chill is a fine model to work from, since any apocalypse movie worth its now valuable salt focuses more on the characters than the destruction, but Goodbye World‘s two story tones never quite mesh.
The soapy material is at odds with the largely distant catastrophe, which often feels too abstract to be a real threat; the completely hypothetical world-ending of After the Dark had more urgency, and Goodbye World features the world’s most lackadaisical gang of marauding post-apocalyptic bikers.
Standing out in the overstuffed cast is Mark Webber as a macho, self-righteous activist reminiscent of Informant meathead Brandon Darby, but the movie only really comes alive when Scott Mescudi is onscreen as Lev, an on-the-spectrum nerd who may know more about the cyber attack than he’s letting on.
Goodbye World is also notable for featuring the most fraught-with-metaphor pink teddy bear since the second season of Breaking Bad.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 2, 2014