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June 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightly, has found few friends among the critics. The story takes place as a massive asteroid is hurtling towards Earth, dooming it to annihilation. “At least it’s an ambitious misfire,” is about the best Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times can say about the movie. A.O. Scott in the New York Times calls it a “sweet, whimsical and seriously misguided romp through end times.” The problem, he writes, is that nothing “especially surprising happens. You see everything coming, which I suppose is part of the appeal of an end-of-the-world movie.” Ann Hornaday in the Washington Post regards it as “a strange little movie.” There’s just no “believable world” in this movie, she comments, and “by the time the all-too-convenient plot twist shows up in the third act, the air of contrivance is positively stifling.” Nevertheless, she concludes, the two stars “still manage to wring pathos and warmth from the artificial setup.” Rick Groen in the Toronto Globe and Mail finds the opening scenes delightful. “Unfortunately, the keenest fun ends when the plot begins,” he remarks. Ty Burr in the Boston Globe also finds the opening scenes “inspired.” However, he concludes, “Eventually the film runs out of things to do.” As for the stars: “Carell’s performance is enjoyable but safe, and while he and Knightley play well enough together, there’s no genuine chemistry.” Not so, says Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News. Their chemistry is “soulful,” and the movie “takes strength from … Carell and Knightley’s commitment to their unaffected performances.” Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, he writes, is “one of the year’s most emotionally affecting movies.”