Critics are decidedly split on Lorene Scafaria's "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" and whether its cataclysmic hijinks are cute or phony.
Here is our roundup of reviews for "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World."
"At least it's an ambitious misfire from the filmmaker, screenwriter Lorene Scafaria making a rocky directing debut. The movie ponders what people would do with their final days if the end were a fait accompli. Will anarchy reign or will humanity win out? Will Dodge (Carell) and Penny (Knightley), relative strangers living in the same apartment building, find each other, and love, before the planet and the asteroid collide? Or will they die alone? Lots of potential for a really tragic love story — from here to eternity, literally." — Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
"The sad sack in question is Dodge, a New York insurance salesman played by Steve Carell with the air of melancholy that serves, in his big-screen roles, as the functional equivalent of a 'Don't Call Me Michael Scott' T-shirt. Mr. Carell has a penchant for wounded and wistful romantic roles. Here, as in 'Dan in Real Life' and 'Crazy, Stupid, Love,' he is a nebbishy guy so far out of the Darwinian sexual rat race that he becomes irresistible to women." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
"Penny feels equally underwritten, which leaves the awkward sight of Knightley, evidently still stuck in 'A Dangerous Method' mode, straining to appear girl-next-door cute while her facial expressions scream 'mental patient.' "— Peter Debruge, Variety
"Screenwriter Lorene Scafaria (the similarly fey 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist') is over her head in her feature directing debut, unable to establish a consistent tone in a movie that flirts with black comedy, satire, romantic comedy and touchy-feely earnestness without really delivering any of them." — Lou Lumenick, New York Post
The Final Word
"What it doesn't have is a way of making sense of its comic and dramatic strains, together, in the same movie. Carell and Knightley work hard to bring life and truth to each stage of a dawning friendship. By the end, though, Dodge and Penny have had one too many affirming encounters that feel engineered, not lived." — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune