Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Yes, it's the end of days, something about an asteroid hurtling toward Earth. In three weeks, boom, it's over. No second chance. Steve Carell plays Dodge, an insurance exec whose wife dumps him for a last fling at life. Unlike his wife and horny buddy (that's you, Patton Oswalt), Dodge doesn't want to go sex-nuts. Dodge goes to work where there's no need to go. Then he hits on the idea of finding his first love.

Penny, played by Keira Knightley, hits on the idea of going with this stranger. Hell, she wants to connect with her family, and he might be able to help her. Penny's boyfriend (Adam Brody) is a tool. And on a road trip, featuring various guest stars (you're up, Derek Luke), Dodge and Penny establish a low-key comic rhythm that grows into something bigger. Maybe even love.

That's it. Screenwriter Lorene Scafaria (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist), making her directing debut, has decided to approach Armageddon the same way as Dodge and Penny: nice and easy. Not a bad idea. And Carell and Knightley give it their bittersweet best. But I never rooted for them as a couple, never felt a chemistry in their bond. And in a romance, even one with tragic notes, that really is the end of the world.

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From The Archives Issue 1160: July 5, 2012
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