Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
* * * ½ (Joyce)
It is three weeks until an asteroid is going to destroy the earth. What would you do?
Some people party. Some loot. Some have panic attacks. Some hide away in a bunker.
Dodge (Steve Carell) thinks about finding his high school sweetheart after his wife leaves him. Penny (Keira Knightley) breaks up with her boyfriend and ends up sleeping on Dodge’s couch. The two have nothing in common, including their ages, but team up to escape their rioting neighborhood and find his old girlfriend and her parents. Trouble is, her parents are in England and all flights have been canceled.
Their road trip results in them bonding and then discovering that they care for each other, and then, well you know where this is going.
Joyce, the romantic, liked the relationship that developed between two people I really didn’t care for very much. Dodge is dull, self-centered and kind of an old beyond his years bore. Penny is flaky, self-centered and downright mean at times. All they have is each other.
There are a couple of funny moments (shown in the previews), where a cop stops them for a taillight out and throws them in jail, and a pitstop at a Friendlys, where the staff and customers let it all hang out. There’s a poignant moment where Dodge tries to reconnect with his absentee father (Martin Sheen).
Trying to make a romantic comedy about the Apocalypse is not an easy thing to do. I think they failed. Joyce doesn’t. We won’t tell you if the world ends or not. But the movie didn’t end soon enough for me. Rated R, with minor profanity, drugs and violence. I would add boredom.