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Seeking A Friend for the End of the World

Verdict: If you’re 30+ and still looking for that special someone, stay far, far away from this film. 

There’s a giant meteor hurling straight towards earth and threatening to end life on this planet.  The rescue team (the one led by Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck, remember?) have failed.  3 weeks until Doomsday.  Steve Carrell’s wife goes running off into the darkness, and his maid refuses to quite coming every Wednesday.  Keira Knightley’s regretting her decision to leave beloved England for the shinier states.  Carrell decides to track down the only girl he ever really loved.  He knows a guy who owns a plane, so Knightley comes along.

This was a complete non-starter, and perhaps the flattest romantic comedy I’ve seen in a while.  Well, actually, I generally avoid romantic comedies, so it takes unusual plot elements (like time travel or the end of the world) to get me to pay attention.  The two I’ve watched this week haven’t improved my opinion of my least favorite genre.  At least “Safety Not Guaranteed” was mildly charming.  “Seeking A Friend” just drifts along from scene to scene, and, as the end of the world gets perilously near, decides Carrell and Knightley ought to fall in love, despite the lack of any chemistry between them.  So they do.  The end.

It is so completely unconvincing that these two would ever fall for each other – he’s a 40 something insurance salesman with a powerful misanthropic streak, she a sort of soggy Manic Pixie Dream Girl with a strange habit of attracting losers – that the ending feels far more depressing than romantic or heartwarming.  Instead of feeling like two people who finally found their soul mate just days before the planet goes down in flames (which would be tragic enough) it feels like a “love the one you’re with” kind of situation, except worse, as they try, in their final moments, to convince each other, and themselves, that this really IS the real thing, that their lives aren’t empty and meaningless after all.

It’s like that scene in all romantic comedies where the beautiful girl tries to convince herself that she really loves her stupid jerk of a fiancé, that he’s not all that bad, that he has some good qualities — and then she runs off with Mr. Right.  Except in “Seeking A Friend,” there’s no Mr. Right on the horizon.  There’s only death, and it’s approaching fast.   Yikes.

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