Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012)

(On Cable TV, April 2013) There have been a lot of films about the end of the world lately (a wave that shows no sign of abating), but there’s always a place for something different, and it’s in this light that Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is best appreciated.  Once the first few minutes establish that this is indeed the impending end of the world, the rest of the film follows an everyman protagonist as he witnesses the end of civilization, the various responses to the impending apocalypse, and even gets to find solace of sorts.  It’s too amiable to classify as a drama, but as a comedy, don’t expect big laughs as much as a series of poignant vignettes and a gentle romance.  Steve Carrell is almost perfectly cast as the melancholic protagonist, while Keira Knightley gets an easy role as the girl who brightens up the last days of his life.  Based as it is on a road-trip series of vignettes, the film can’t escape some severe tonal consistency problems, but it does end in a satisfying (albeit predictable) fashion.  Cranking up many romantic clichés against the big ticking clock of the impending apocalypse, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World works best as a break from the usual bombastic disaster clichés, and as a slower deliberate exploration of what the end means to everyone.

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