It's the alternate ending to Armageddon we never asked for. The space shuttle destroyed, a massive asteroid hurtling toward earth, humanity has days before it is wiped from the planet, and the planet destroyed. Within this context is set Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, a romantic quasi-comedy with lots of promise and not much else.
Steve Carell stars as Dodge, a man whose wife leaves him the moment she learns that the world is about to end. Depressed and distraught, he befriends friends with a beautiful neighbor named Penny (Keira Knightley). After riots and looting tears them from their homes, they set out to find Dodge's old flame. Along the way, a romance blossoms.
In spite of the movie's depressing premise, there was plenty of comedic potential in this little movie. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is unfortunately an oddly generic romantic comedy, though to even call it a comedy is a stretch. The film could have been filled with oddball characters and events that exaggerate the craziness that would ensue with the end of the world approaching, but writer/director Lorene Scafaria rarely touches upon these elements. A scene set in a chain restaurant-turned-orgy is amusing, but Scafaria fails to capitalize on its true potential - and the funniest moments are already shown in the movie's trailer.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is more dramatic than the marketing and title would suggest, though it isn't deep or emotional enough to truly qualify as a drama. Instead, it feels like a flat comedy where the dark tone lacks edge. The chemistry between Carell and Knightley is mediocre at best, which doesn't help; their relationship is cute, for a comedy, but it lacks the passion or sincerity to justify investing two hours to wait for them to die.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World suffers from a lack of identity. It suggests it wants to be a comedy but isn't funny, and it lacks the emotional depth to be a drama. As a result, it's forgettable and slightly depressing. Not the kind of friend you want to keep.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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