Carrell plays Dodge, a middle aged insurance salesman whose wife leaves him as soon as it becomes apparent that human kind is going to be wiped out by a 70 mile wide asteroid. Left alone in his final days, he strikes up a friendship with the similarly out of luck and out of love Penny (Keira Knightley) and the two set out on a soul-searching road trip before all life on the planet is snuffed out, like so many scented candles.
The premise of the film is compelling, because humans love fantasising about how they would behave during Armageddon. But sadly this ‘dark comedy’ lacks both darkness and laughs, which means you will get more enjoyment from imagining who you would shag/kill if everyone had 2 weeks to live while the movie rolls tediously on in the background.
One of the issues is that Carrell’s portrayal of a bland white collar worker is not counterbalanced by enough extroverted behaviour from Knightley or the other players, so he just seems boring, bordering on psychotic. The film also gives no reason for the two leads to fall in love, with their age gap just rehashing the “middle aged man + 20-something woman” fantasy that has been played out in many comedies, particularly in a post-Apatow world.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World will at best muster indifference and is only recommendable to those that can stomach the prim propriety of Knightley’s attempt at portraying a bohemian ditz.