Bizarrely advertised as a comedy, you are guaranteed disappointment if you go into this film expecting Steve Carrell's usual laugh-a-minute performance. However, hope is not completely lost as the film reveals itself to be a budding romance in a way that you may not expect from the start.
Seeking a friend for the end of the world gives its key plot line away in the title. On hearing the news that the world is on a three week countdown to termination, Dodge's (Carrell) wife ups and leaves him without a second thought. Initially struggling to come to terms with the situation he finds himself in, Dodge eventually decides (with a little help from his emotional and unlucky-in-love neighbour, Penny (Knightly)) to go in search of his high school sweetheart. Penny, desperate to get back to her family, agrees to go with him and together the two of them flee a city quickly descending into chaos and violence. With a few stops along the way to seek help from old friends and family, the pair end up falling in love in a lukewarm way that only the end of the world could provoke.
The film sees Steve Carrell in a role a million miles away from his portrayals of Brick Tamland (Anchor Man) and Evan Baxter (Bruce Almighty), and the comedian gives a strong performance, even if all the laughs are given away in the trailer.
Next to Carrell, Kiera Knightly attempts to take on the role of a ditsy, somewhat lost, 20-something, who seems to take the news of the end of the world very much in her stride. Her acting, unfortunately, feels slightly forced and the rom-com genre certainly takes Knightly out of her comfort zone. The result? A character that comes across as faintly irritating, rather than the intended endearing young woman.
The slow-moving love story is not expected from the start but nevertheless becomes quickly obvious. It's an odd match to say the least, and it's a struggle to really root for a couple with such little on-screen chemistry.
The saving grace of the film, however, is its realistic look at what society might turn to following an announcement of impending doom for mankind. Riots, orgies, breakdowns and suicide all feature in a well thought-out interpretation of individual reactions to some of the worst news the world could expect to hear.
As the title suggests, the ending is inevitably an extremely final one, and the conclusion of an awkward love story, combined with the end of the world, will have you leaving the cinema with mixed emotions to say the least. Surprisingly difficult to deliver a final verdict on, this film is far from a complete flop. But by placing Knightly and Carrell side by side, it does manage to stunt, somewhat, the abilities of two very talented actors.
Date : 22/07/2012
Average price: £10.00