When a 70-mile-wide asteroid is on a collision course for Earth, Dodge (Steve Carell) sets off to find his lost high school sweetheart. Penny (Keira Knightly) wants to get to her England home to see her family one last time. When their journeys bring them together, they become unlikely companions in an adventure that changes them in unexpected ways.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World caught my attention because of the interesting concept: look at an apocalyptic event from the citizen’s point-of-view, instead of the hero’s. Then on top of that, add two actors I like to watch on screen and the outcome was sure to be something enjoyable. The result is a dark twist on a familiar plot that is entertaining and thought-provoking.
Steve Carell is such a versatile actor, which is why he is one of my favorites. Not only does he have great comedic timing, but he brings a more subtle humor to his serious roles as well. Although his character work this time around is not as strong, it doesn’t disappoint either. His humor is much more nuanced than some of his other films, but it doesn’t lose any of its charm. As for Keira Knightly, I have only really seen her in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and it was fun to see her in another role. Her outgoing and zany personality was a good contrast to Carell’s more introverted character.
Since Seeking a Friend is a road trip movie, Carell and Knightly are the only actors that get any focuse. This format enables a revolving door of guest appearances, if you will, from many actors. Rob Corddry, Paton Oswalt, Gillian Jacobs, Martin Sheen, and several others make small appearances throughout the film. Having these other random actors show up for a scene or two made for some interesting moments.
I was a little caught off guard by the dark tone of the movie. I think that seeing Carell in the film, I thought it would be much more lighthearted than it was. But with it being an “end of the world” movie and all, I should have expected otherwise. It does, however, have a good blend of the lightheartedness that Carell brings to the role and the darkness of the apocalypse.
The script, written by Lorene Scafaria, was fantastic. It was funny and moving. But at the same time, it was predictable. Although the journey was entertaining, it was apparent early on where the character development would end up.
Despite a predictable plot, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is an enjoyable movie. Though not Carell’s or Knightly’s best performance, they contrasted and played well off each other. Scafaria makes a great directorial debut with this fun and thoughtful film.