Seeking a Friend at the End of the World is about, well, that, finding a friend during an impending apocalypse. The world is ending but it's not ending in a 2012 kind of way or an Armageddon way. This isn't a disaster movie you're used to watching. I do love disaster movies but not because I'm a sadist who wants to watch the world end but because it always never does in these movies. (Yay!) They are also extremely enjoyable which is, yes, a euphemism for being a sadist.
I've always wondered if a realistic apocalypse film can be made, without the stupendous visual effects and money shots of global calamities. A film called Last Night (1998) came close. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World tries to achieve that and succeeds but only in parts. It is about how ordinary people would react in a doomed situation but it also becomes a *movie* after a point. Although, it completely succeeds in being a smart movie, which defies genre conventions of romantic comedies and disaster films. The apocalypse movie generally involves a high-adrenaline adventure, things blowing up, the main characters taking planes, trains and automobiles to get to the safe place but not this one. This film becomes a road trip movie. They also arent getting to a safe place.
We are told at the beginning that an asteroid will collide with the earth in three weeks. Obviously, there will be riots and orgies. Dodge (Steve Carell) is an insurance agent whose wife leaves him as soon as they find out the world is definitely going to end. Penny (Keira Knightley) eagerly wants to reconnect with her family in England. For starters, the casting gets it right with Carell and Knightley who are able to strike a genuinely romantic chemistry.
The screenplay falters at places where it resorts to contrivances and predictability but it also creates moments of such unabashed charm aided by good dialogue. There are moments of satire, which are combined with gentle moments of dramatic observation. I could literally pick three fantastic scenes that are so well written and pretty much made me like the entire film with no reservations. The ending is the high note and makes for a surprisingly touching movie experience. Its not the best romantic comedy, its not the best disaster film either, but it's definitely one of those movies I'll be recommending to my friends.view less