Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Disappointing apocalyptic romcom starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley
The directorial debut from Lorene Scafaria (writer of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) begins with the announcement that the final mission to save the Earth from obliteration by an asteroid has failed. Initially it’s hilariously cynical as, with just days to go, morality is flung aside. The film focuses on Dodge (Steve Carell), whose normal life is turned upside down: his wife legs it, his best friend’s wife makes a pass at him, colleagues commit suicide. However, it’s only when Dodge finds his neighbour Penny (Keira Knightley) crying outside his window that things take a truly dark turn – a turn for the naffly romantic, as the pair set out on a quest to find Dodge’s lost love.
Carell might not be an imaginative choice for a neurotic everyman but he’s characteristically genial. By contrast, Knightley makes light comedy look like hard work and her appearance is a sandbag to an already floundering film. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World trades comedy for corniness with dispiriting abandon. Feeble and cloying from midway to its final throes, it begins with a bang but – inappropriately for the scenario – goes out with a whimper.
General release from Fri 13 July.