You know what you are in for when you sit down to watch a movie titled Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. There isn’t much left to the imagination there. Steve Carell plays Dodge, a man who is left by his wife when she runs away (literally) the moment the date for the end of the world is made public. As it turns out, she was all that he had. That is, until he meets his neighbor Penny, played by Keira Knightley. The two are opposites in about every way possible.
It begs the viewer to ponder the question: What would you do if you knew you only had a few weeks to live? The answers are numerous and varied in the movie. Some people are in complete denial. Some people turn to drugs — as is the case in an awkward scene that has adults trying heroin for the first time and allowing children to drink. There is everything from baptisms to assassinations in this movie. And therein lies one of the biggest issues for SAFFTEOTW, the film just tries too hard to fit too many scenarios in that it loses momentum and your connection to the main characters. Funny moments seem to be thrown in as an afterthought and only help to further derail the film. Funny for the sake of having something comedic, isn’t funny.
Steve Carell does play heavy-hearted almost as well as he does comedy. We know that from his roles in both Crazy, Stupid, Love and Dan in Real Life, both of which had audiences full of empathy for his characters. Keira Knightley is believable as the carefree younger girl who creeps her way into the hearts of all she meets. The acting from both of the leads is what you would expect from both a Golden Globe winner (Carell for The Office) and an Academy Award Nominee (Knightly for Pride and Prejudice). Despite that, the movie felt disjointed and a little confused. The filmmakers tried to fit too much into this movie and should have focused more on one tone overall.