Dull take on doomsday

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Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

DIRECTOR: Lorene Scafaria

CAST: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley and Derek Luke

RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes

CLASSIFICATION: 13 LVD

RATING: ***

Seeking a shorter title would’ve been too much to ask, obviously. If the end was nigh, what would you do? Well, the answer, if looking at the people in Dodge Petersen’s (Carell) neighbourhood is any indication, you’d exercise.

Yes, people go to the gym, still show up at jobs they hate and do all sorts of things that surely aren’t on any living person’s bucket list. This is in spite of the fact that they’ve been told there are only three weeks left before an asteroid called Matilda collides with Earth in a bang bigger than what some believe created the third rock from the Sun.

When she hears the news of the impending doomsday, Dodge’s wife, Linda (played by Carell’s real life wife, Nancy) packs her bags. Love no longer lives in that household.

With some folks around him committing suicide and others choosing death by debauchery, Dodge knows he must do something worthwhile with his life because there’s so little left of it. As his neurotic friend, Warren (Rob Corddry) shouts at his wife, “This isn’t the f****** Ark, this is the Titanic and there’s no raft in sight.”

Despite an awkward introduc-tion, Dodge befriends Penny Lockhart (Knightley) who is in an on-off relationship with an incredibly childish man (Brody). When an angry mob in Bob Marley’s words starts “burnin’ and lootin’ their ’hood”, Dodge and Penny make a dash for it and drive cross-country to find Dodge’s long lost first love and get Penny to her family in the UK before Earth explodes. Along the way we meet a buff Derek Luke as Penny’s ex, cackle over the OTT manner in which the waiters at Friendsy’s behave and (here’s the boring part) watch Dodge and Penny fall in love.

Sure that last bit was predictable but it would have been nice to not have Carell portrayed as a sucker for love once again. He already aced that in Crazy Stupid Love. But then again, this is the directorial debut of Scafaria, the Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist screenwriter so we should have seen this one coming.

Knightley has her bad gal moments but even the brilliant Carell can’t coax us out of a boredom coma when she’s on-screen. Dodge is rather endearing as proof that nice guys finish last. The ending (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it) also feels like a cop-out. At least you’ll save on Kleenex.

If you liked… 50/50 or War of the Worlds… you may find this a tad silly.


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