Sunday, July 15, 2012

Movie Review: "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World"

Admit it, it's an interesting premise: the pairing of Steve Carell and Keira Knightley in a movie about the end of the world. It certainly intrigued me enough to track the movie down to the one theater in our area where it was still playing. And I definitely am glad I did.

An asteroid is nearing Earth, and the end of days is only three weeks away. After his wife runs away in a panic after the announcement, Dodge (Steve Carell) is left questioning his life and wondering why he needs to worry about anything in the days that remain. Even though his friends advise him to find someone to spend the rest of his life with, the thought of starting over makes no sense. But he does think of the first one that got away, his high school girlfriend, Olivia.

Into Dodge's life comes his flaky neighbor, Penny (Keira Knightley), who is emotional after breaking up with her boyfriend and realizing she missed her last chance to fly home and be with her family. Penny also reveals some truths Dodge would have rather not known, but these discoveries, along with a riot overtaking their neighborhood, pushes Dodge into making a deal with her: he'll get her to a plane so she can fly home, and along the way, he'll attempt to reunite with his old flame.

The two embark on an interesting road trip, and they come into contact with a number of people all planning to spend the end of days in different ways. And while the end of the journey may not come as a surprise, for those who enjoy a little emotional manipulation along with sly comedy, it doesn't really matter.

While I can only take so much of the sad-sack persona Carell tends to adopt in many of his movies (Dan in Real Life; Crazy, Stupid Love), he employs it well here. And Knightley's icy imperiousness, coupled with a fun flightiness, definitely helps you understand why many characters in the movie are intrigued by her. The pair have an odd chemistry I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't seen the movie, and even as you're wondering if it will work, it does.

The movie isn't quite perfect; it's a little slow in places and at times it's not sure whether to be funny, wry, or sensitive. But the acting is solid and the story is one that definitely makes you think about how and with whom you'd want to spend your last days. This is an enjoyable, bittersweet, fun little movie.

Watch the trailer.

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