Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is being promoted as a comedy, but it’s really a love story that tries to be humourous, usually without success. However, the satire (like local media maintaining a countdown until the final days) often works, as does the romance.
An asteroid 70 miles across is going to hit the earth and probably destroy human life in three weeks. Steve Carell plays a New Jersey life insurance salesman, who despite his profession and the imminent apocalypse, still goes to work every day. His wife left him for the man she really loves and he’s facing the end of the world alone.
But then he becomes friends with a somewhat wacky, dope-smoking neighbour played by Kiera Knightley. Together they flee the rioting that is breaking out in their neighbourhood and agree to help each other. First they will try to find the high school girlfriend he still yearns for and then he will help her get to England to reunite with her family.
On the road they, unsurprisingly, fall in love while meeting interesting people, like William Petersen, who is dying of cancer and has hired a hit man to kill himself. While this is a movie that only partly works, it does bring out the human need for love and companionship. And a charming Knightley and Carell make what could be a real downer of a movie, surprisingly appealing.
Rating: four deer out of five
Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.