There are but a few weeks left before Earth is destroyed by an asteroid.
Some people are throwing themselves off buildings; others are ticking off bucket lists or shagging as many strangers as they can.
Insurance salesman Dodge (Steve Carell), meanwhile, is still turning up at the office, sad, lonely and depressed.
Dodge’s recent split from his wife left him a wreck long before the end of the world came along.
Discovering a letter from his high-school sweetheart, he sets off on a road trip in hopes of a reunion – accompanied by newly single neighbour Penny (Keira Knightley)…
As intimate a vision of the apocalypse as Ewan McGregor-Eva Green indie Perfect Sense, Lorene Scafaria’s directorial debut focuses on Dodge and Penny’s evolving bond.
Half Bill Murray in Lost In Translation, half his own lovable loser from The Office, Carell fits the hangdog-hero mould perfectly. Alas, it’s less easy to accept Knightley as a penniless, free-spirited bohemian.
Her dramatic scenes might be some of the most moving in the film, but elsewhere she tries too hard to hide the pout. Tonally, Seeking A Friend is bittersweet – in that order.
As you might expect from the woman who penned the cutsey indie romance Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist, the jet-black satire (causal heroin use at middle-aged dinner parties; CEO jobs being handed to whomever wants them), starts turning soppy somewhere around the midpoint.
The whole end-of-the-world thing is pushed further and further into the background, and with it most of the film’s early promise as an edgy dark comedy.
Still, as unashamed sentimentality goes, it’s handled sensitively; you should expect to shed a few tears by the time the countdown hits zero – but not for the sake of the human race.
The sugary third act might be as sappy as the first is dark, but there are comforts in this apoca-romcom – not least Carell’s sad-eyed, soulful turn.