Not many romantic comedies start with the end of the world. But with an apocalyptic set-up taking two miss-matched characters on a road trip across an anarchic America, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is not every romantic comedy.
With Earth only 21 days away from the asteroid Matilda colliding and destroying everything we know and love, Dodge (Steve Carrell) is still somehow having worse luck than most people during the end of days.
With his wife leaving him, people at his work killing themselves and his friends giving him nothing but pity, the impending destruction of the planet forces him to realise that he has wasted his life and achieved absolutely nothing.
A random encounter with his quirky English neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) leads to a massive life altering revelation via some undelivered mail from his childhood sweetheart, who still holds a candle for him.
This flicker of hope, coupled with the riots taking over the city they live in prompts the unlikely couple to make a pact, with Penny driving Dodge to see his long lost love if he helps her get back to Britain to see her family.
With a rampaging population, mass orgies on mass, army survivalists arming themselves, hired killers saving people from committing suicide, and people literally doing anything and anyone they want, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World takes both its characters and the audience on one last journey before the end of everything – which is both banal and barmy in equal measures.
In the same way such a cataclysmic extinction level event would conjure a mixture of emotions in the planets populace, Lorene Scafaria’s movie moves from all out comedy to tragic drama, with moments of horror and tender poignant romance all working wonderfully together.
Having perfected the lovable looser act long ago Carrell plays to a type that he is now well known for, which is no bad thing. And Knightley is surprisingly good as his opposite in every way, as the cute free spirited Penny, living life without care or consequence as opposed to the safe and sheltered avoidance of risk that Dodge has cultivated throughout his existence.
The supporting cast with cameos from Adam Brody, Melanie Lynskey, American Horror Stories’ Connie Britton and Martin Sheen are excellent, highlighting Scafaria’s witty and spot on script.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World offers a twisted twist on the traditional rom-com, taking its audience through a hilariously and somehow scarily realistic portrayal of the end of days.
The apocalypse has never been so funny.