Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Rated 3.0

Affirmations of love seem like a good thing to have on your bucket list even if the end of the world isn’t immanent. Still, making the end of the world one of the premises for a sobersided romantic comedy may increase the urgency for the would-be lovers, but it inevitably shortchanges the larger drama. So it’s no surprise that writer-director Lorene Scafaria’s oddball comedy-drama does better with “seeking a friend” than it does with the Final Days. It does manage a certain satirical bite with respect to a fatuously hedonistic society’s last wishes for itself. But that material soon runs thin, and the slow-brewing love story between solitary souls Dodge (Steve Carell) and Penny (Keira Knightley) takes precedence over everything else. Fortunately for the film’s entertainment quotient, Knightley brings a surprisingly sharp edge to her happy/sad character, and Carell shows nice, low-key dramatic chops along with his well-established gift for comic irony. Paradise Cinema 7. Rated R.