Seeking a Friend For the End of the World Review: A Mostly Boring and Depressing Comedy Save for a Great Performance From Keira Knightley

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This new comedy from the writer of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist fails to ever do something interesting and flounders around while making a few decent jokes.

Steve Carell has never looked so bored. None of the giddiness he had shown over his seven years on The Office is present here. Nor is his quiet yet commanding demeanor from last summer’s Crazy, Stupid, Love. In Seeking a Friend he is as lifeless as the planet is about to become, even after he finds what he was looking for.

The script doesn’t really allow the actor to have much fun, however, as most of the best jokes are heard over the radio, in the background, or delivered with quirky elegance by Keira Knightley, but more on her later. A lot of jokes fall flat, but there are a few winners. The scene where the pair end up at a Friendly’s type restaurant is probably the highlight of the film humor-wise.

But more than anything, Seeking a Friend is just plain depressing. Sure, the end of the world isn’t exactly Mardi Gras but Keira Kngihtley seems to be having fun during it! Steve Carell mostly just sulks at how he regrets every moment of his life. Also, here is a film that really needed an uplifting ending, and what we got just doesn’t cut it.

Another failure in the film was the supposed romance between the two main characters. There was never a connection felt between them, at least on Carell’s side. They simply worked much better as friends like the title implies.

The film’s one saving grace is a shockingly wonderful performance from Keira Knightley. She takes control of every scene she is in almost as if she is trying to make up for the lack of other interesting characters. In one truly perfect scene she makes contact with her family, and all the layers Knightley throws into the conversation is truly unbelievable. With another writer and another leading man to boost her recognition, she could have gotten some early awards talk.

Which is why it is too bad that this film never really takes off. Putting a comedic spin on the end of the world should have been a genius combination. The premise surrounding the characters is certainly strong enough for it. Things just never seem to come together. I am honestly very disappointed in Steve Carell, but bravo to Keira Knightley for at least keeping me awake. Grade: D

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