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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World | Keira Knightley, Steve Carell, Martin Sheen | Review

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Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

By Judy Thorburn

What would you do with the precious time you have left if you learned the world would be destroyed by a colossal asteroid in three weeks? That is the dilemma everyone on earth faces in this comedy drama starring Steve Carrell and Keira Kneightly, as an unlikely, mismatched pair who team up for  the final journey of their lives.

When news is announced on the radio that final efforts to divert the apocalypse has failed, Dodge's (Carell) wife (his real life spouse Carol) runs out on him like a speeding bullet.  He hasn't talked to his father (Martin Sheen) in decades, his friends have abandoned all their morals and inhibitions, riots have broken out, and his job as an insurance agent seems pointless. Only Dodge's hispanic housekeeper goes about her usual routine, coming to clean his apartment, acting oblivious to the catastrophic news.

Stuck in a rut, things change course for the reserved Dodge when he meets his downstairs neighbor, Penny (Kneightly)  a free spirited, extroverted young woman that smokes pot, has a penchant for classic LPs and has just broken up with her loser boyfriend (Adam Brody).  Penny wants to return to England and see her family before it is too late, although all commercial airline flights in and out of the country have been grounded, and Dodge hopes to re-unite with the long lost love of his life, his high school sweetheart, Olivia.

With Penny providing transportation to find his former girlfriend, Dodge agrees to help her secure a plane ride back home as they, along with an abandoned mutt he decided to keep, take off on the road trip of their life.   Along the way, they meet up with an assortment of people who have chosen their own way to deal with the impending doom, including a truck driver (William L. Petersen) who had hired an assassin to assist in his suicide, a visit to a roadside diner where the staff and customers are enjoying a free for all party, a highway cop who is still intent on giving them a speeding ticket and dragging them off to jail,  and one of Penny's old beaus (Derek Luke),  a survivalist living in a basement fallout shelter filled with enough provisions to last 6 months.

Much more than another silly road trip movie, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World offers something else, by gradually evolving into a predictable, yet tender love story about two very different people who find each other under unusual circumstances, when they least expect it.  Their journey also becomes one of self discovery where regrets, reconciliations and something even more meaningful comes into play.

Carell and Kneightly do make for an odd couple. Somehow their chemistry works and each in their respective role is believable.  I was especially impressed by Carell who stretches his acting chops with a restrained, thoughtful, performance that is the best of his career.

Screenwriter Lorene Scafaria (Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist), shows promise in her directorial feature film debut, with this bittersweet, poignant story punctuated by comical moments as a result of mundane (and most likely, true) human reactions to the matter at hand.

In the end it isn't just about Seeking A Friend for the End of The World.  Other emotions come into focus and love proves to have greater impact than a massive asteroid.

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