Remember the movie Armageddon? You know, Liv and Ben, Bruce and Billy Bob, blowin’ up asteroids and saving the planet from imminent demise? Let’s take the same plot, only Ben and the boys don’t manage to blow up the asteroid, and in 21 days, it is going to hit and destroy the Earth. This is the situation we watch unfold in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
Steve Carrell plays Dodge, the lead character of the story. Upon hearing the news that everyone will be dying in three weeks, his wife runs off, and he is left alone to spend the few remaining days of his and everyone’s life alone. He continues his life regularly for a while, but eventually the world becomes the senseless rioting that you would expect. After running into and befriending his neighbor Penny, played by Kiera Knightley, he gets a letter just before his building catches fire from his high school girlfriend, the love of this life. Forced from their home, the two decide to try and find the people they care about most before the world ends.
Carrell is cast in a role I have to believe was written with him in mind: the really reserved, sort of pathetic guy that produces a lot of awkward and really funny content out of normal, quirky little sayings and actions, à la Crazy, Stupid, Love. Knightley is a good cast as well. A wild-spirited woman who smokes weed and has dated many guys. The combination works pretty well between the two, both fully capable of real comedy and real emotion. Knightley is quite the crier.
Writer/director Lorene Scafaria, who wrote Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, has gives us another common combination this year in film, that of drama and comedy from some less than happy real life situations. While being both funny and dramatic, the movie doesn’t really shine on either spectrum. It comes close, with some hearty laughs and stirred emotions, but my pants and eyes both stayed dry throughout. It also turns out to be somewhat predictable, which is never fun to see.
2.5/4 – Both a funny and sentimental film about the end of the world, just not one that would you would pick to watch for the last days on Earth.