Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
A 70-mile-wide asteroid is en route to Earth, and the last best attempt to counter it has failed. Also failing is the marriage of soft-spoken insurance salesman Dodge; the breaking news that the world will end in an estimated 21 days cues his wife to leave him on the spot.
Dodge is a man who has always played by the rules of life, while his neighbor Penny is an extroverted woman who hasn’t. When a riot breaks out around their apartment building, Dodge realizes that he must seek his high school sweetheart before it’s too late while Penny makes the decision to spend her last days with family in England.
On the road together, the unlikely traveling companions’ respective personal journeys accelerate, and their outlooks – if not the world’s – brighten. Starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley.
To its credit, this movie encourages the viewer to reflect on what he or she would do if one knew the earth was going to be destroyed by an asteroid in weeks. Who would you call? How would you act? Would you do things you normally don’t do? On the other hand, the content is pretty strong in this picture which we will get to momentarily.
Steve Carell manages to elicit a few laughs with his unique and dry sense of humor but at the same time this movie is downright depressing in spots, as various characters deal with unhappiness and the knowledge that their unfulfilled dreams will remain…unfulfilled. There is an exception though and this is where Dodge (Carell) comes in. His wife has left him to be with someone else, and she left once the news broke about earth’s time running out. He thinks about a former high school sweetheart that he misses and he makes up his mind to visit her before the coming Apocalypse. However, a young woman named Penny (Keira Knightley) enters his life one night as looting and violence is breaking out in the neighborhood and Dodge’s life is soon changed for good, for what time he has left. Penny is a hopeless romantic as her parents are and her “caution to the wind” personality meshes nicely with Dodge’s practical and conservative life style. He has been an insurance agent with the same company for years.
Dodge, upon learning his former high school flame just attempted to get a letter to him three weeks earlier, drives to her home with Penny along but when he reaches the woman’s house he realizes he has a decision to make. The plot is basically a “doomsday romance” story. Unfortunately, despite some good themes in this film, the language is strong as is the drug usage which takes place (including a woman about to shoot up heroin) and the film also contains a few moments of strong violence. For these reasons we can’t award the movie our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal.