What would you do if you knew the end of the world was just three weeks away? Be careful, the longer you deliberate it, the less time you will have to do it! No doubt some will succumb to their dark vices, normalising heavy drug use and rape, while others – like Dodge (Steve Carell) – will pine over loves lost, wishing for one more day with a childhood sweetheart before Armageddon.
Rightly or wrongly, Steve Carell has become the go-to actor for playing a straight man trapped in a farcical situation, verging on a breakdown. This is a role he seems to have – literally – inherited from Jim Carrey in the transition from Bruce Almighty to Evan Almighty and he simply continues to find his niche in Seeking a Friend, controlling and nurturing the film’s basic plotline.
Few would pick out Keira Knightley to play the kooky sidekick. While perhaps not completely unfamiliar with playing the girl-next-door, she is more well-known for the elaborate costume of Pirates of the Caribbean or Atonement. In Seeking a Friend, her character Penny continually flits between absurdly derailing Carell’s character’s quest and steering him back to reality… a role Knightley fills with aplomb, demonstrating her versatility as an actress.
Despite its humorous exterior, at heart Seeking a Friend is a character study and leaves the audience with pressing concerns about what they consider to be the most important details of life before their end. In this regard, 2020 is perhaps the most appropriate time to catch this film.