Steve Carrell returns to more melancholy ways in this quirky, romantic, comedy-drama where “the apocalypse has never been so funny”- Well, any scant early laughs in…title too long to type, give way to insipidness as damaged Dodge (Carrell) grows an unexpected bond with English rose, Penny (Keira Knightley). As Dodge looks to be reunited with his high school sweetheart, ride along Penny seeks a way to make it home across the pond as a road journey begins to the distant backdrop of Armageddon.
As everyone embraces the world’s end looking to orgies and intoxication Dodge flounders around, weltering for loves lost and loneliness, Penny is lonely too being estranged from her family and now rid of a loafing boyfriend.
Seeking a friend… is all too mild and a little disconnected, as much a struggle to feel for a man who gives little away, not so much tortured, seemingly just wallowing in self-pity, wasting valuable drinking time with only days left to an asteroid impact. Without any pivotal dramatic outpourings either, it’s hard to conjure any sympathy for an odd couple who lament without any real sentiment.
Carrell has done both comedy and drama much better elsewhere; true anguish and equal belly laughs were witnessed more effectively in Little Miss Sunshine, and Knightley’s turn, despite her best efforts to charm, disengages with her usual pouting, that’s near borderline gurning.
The aforementioned laughs tickle somewhat, but chuckles are hit and miss, most hilarity falls to a cast of supporting others, and a glimpse into the damaging past with the arrival of Martin Sheen’s Dad is momentary, slightly more than a cameo from an underused screen legend.
Not setting a clear tone, seeking a friend… sits idling between comedy, tragedy and drama, but it doesn’t really set its stall out clearly enough to effectively be any of the above; this end of the world venture gets lost on the way somewhere on the road movie to oblivion.