Review: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

What would you do if the man on the radio told you that some great fat asteroid was on its way to obliterate the Earth in three weeks time?  Scream? Cry? Immediately whip out the JD and drown your sorrows?

Well, poor old Dodge (Steve Carell) gets another shock as, upon hearing the news, his wife legs it and never returns. Whilst some choose to spend every waking moment with their loved ones, and others decide to indulge in the wild life by dabbling in hard drugs and orgies, Dodge decides to carry on as normal and continue going to work as an insurance salesman.

He later meets a free-spirited English woman called Penny (Keira Knightly) and the two of them decide to go on a mission to find Dodge’s high hchool sweetheart, as well as his ‘friend that owns a plane’ who will take Penny back to England because the daft girl missed her flight (sounds a bit dubious to me).

The film has been described as a ‘dark comedy’, and the darkness is there with an apocalypse around the corner and all that. Unfortunately, it really isn’t funny at all, and Steve Carell without the humour just makes for disappointment. He goes from being creepy and a bit psychologically unhinged, to a hapless ‘romantic’ pursuing a whirlwind romance with a total stranger.

Then we have Keira Knightly who seems to annoy the hell out of anyone just by showing her face, but in this film she is even more annoying as she plays some kooky hipster that wears converse with pretty dresses and just loves vinyl. There isn’t a sense of any genuine love in their relationship – it seems to be all about convenience seeing as they both fear dying alone. Plus the clear age gap between them makes it all a bit creepy.

Despite this, on the whole it’s not a bad film. It’s interesting to see how the different characters prepare for the end as you go along the film. It’s not incredibly deep, but it does emphasise perceived ‘life-changing’ moments, what different people see as being important, and there’s even a vibe of the old ‘everything happens for a reason’ philosophy. Plus it’s pretty cute and there’s a lovely dog in it.

If you believe in love at first sight and you’re a bit of a romantic at heart, you might like Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. If you’re more the cynical, you probably won’t. Don’t see it hoping to see an apocalyptic aftermath, and definitely do not go and see it expecting another Carell classic. Despite the equally ridiculous name, Dodge does not even come close to being as lovable as Brick.

7/10

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