By Megan Bianco
Movies set during humanity’s last days aren’t exactly a new cinematic concept. See On the Beach (1959), The Day After (1983), 28 Days Later (2002) and The Road (2009). Even a humorous Armageddon theme is found in indie hit Last Night (1998). Now, Hollywood has given the theme another whirl with Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, one of the longest movie titles this year.
Twenty-one days before an asteroid’s arrival, insurance salesman Dodge (Steve Carell) is dumped by his wife, and free spirited Penny (Keira Knightley) breaks up with her boyfriend (Adam Brody). After realizing the need to see the people they care about the most, Dodge and Penny hit the road to find Dodge’s long-lost love and Penny’s family across the ocean. Along the way, they happen upon a few mishaps and bizarre episodes.
Connie Britton, Martin Sheen, Gillian Jacobs, Derek Luke and others make appearances. Written and directed by Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist’s (2008) Lorene Scarafia, Seeking a Friend is subtly funny, as is any comedy with dark themes. Satirically, the film starts off fine, but falls short with a wasted characterization of Knightley as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Carell and Knightley also have interesting chemistry together, but only as friends in the film’s first half. The similarities to Last Night are so close that, at the end, you just want to watch your old VHS version.