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Seeking a Friend for the End of the World | The Clapper Bored

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Words by Nick Hilton.

I’m a tremendous Steve Carell fan. My love of The US Office has been well documented and I don’t need to bore you by going into detail about it here but, suffice it to say, I think Carell is one of the most talented comic actors of his generation. Keira Knightley I could take or leave, to be honest. On paper it’s a slightly weird match- are we expecting them to clash? Who’ll be teaching life lessons to whom? Will they hook up?! I’m not going to spoil if you but, beyond the basic premise about the end of the world, the film takes these two competing cinematic forces and does precisely what you’d expect it to do. The results are mixed but, overall, fairly endearing.

Carell plays a man who’s been abandoned by his wife on the eve of the apocalypse. It’s an unpleasant sounding set-up but the film certainly sets out as a comedy- the end of the world is represented in terms of ‘casual clothes Friday’ being every day from now on. Knightley is his kooky and inexplicably English neighbour who ends up in Carell’s flat as the city starts to riot. From there they go on a road trip that is episodic and, resultantly, ebbs between moments that are all out comedy (the free love restaurant), moments that are dramatic (family reunion) and moments that are romantic (break and entering pasta meal).

It’s hugely uneven and is a cocktail of several better movies, but the stars are endearing and the script is refreshing for not pulling its punches. You’ll be frustrated at the shoehorned romance but, if you can get over that statistical improbability, then what you have is a fundamentally sweet movie taking a look at a well-worn cinematic subject with a considerable amount of freshness and wit. It’s just a shame that they didn’t play the laughs and comedy together in the same way as some of Carell’s other projects (namely, The Office) because, if they had, then they’d have had a really delightful film on their hands.

Good natured and well intentioned, the film is too much of a hotchpotch to stand on its own two feet. Nothing objectionable whatsoever though. 

Title: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
Director : Lorene Scafaria
Starring: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Martin Sheen, Patton Oswalt
Running Time: Longish
Certificate: 15

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