A romantic comedy about the apocalypse - starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley.
That certainly got my attention.
Some critics felt the movie didn't gel, but I found "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" funny, touching and romantic - with strong performances and sharp social commentary.
This film image released by Focus Features shows, from left, Keira Knightley as Penny, Gillian Jacobs as Katie, T.J. Miller as Darcy the Chipper Host, and Steve Carell as Dodge in a scene from “Seeking A Friend for the End of the World.”
Carell plays Dodge Peterson, an insurance salesman whose wife walks out only seconds after learning that an earth-bound asteroid will destroy the entire planet in three weeks.
In 1998, "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon" took a sci-fi-action angle on this event; by contrast, "Seeking a Friend" focuses on ordinary folks with jobs, homes and families.
Some want to go on working to the end. Some commit suicide. Some build bunkers, determined to survive.
Others party like mad - start an orgy, try heroin - or go on rampages, smashing cars and setting fires.
The film is thought-provoking and prescient in the range of responses it predicts - and often quite funny.
I loved the scene in which a young man with a sign saying "The End Is Here" has been jailed for "disturbing the peace." As we consider this irony, Dodge reflects on why the streetside prophet sleeps so soundly behind bars:
"He always knew the end was near, and he is currently not surprised. You are looking at a vindicated man."
Meanwhile, the local radio station insists, "We'll be bringing you the countdown to the end of days - along with all your classic rock favorites."
And don't miss the young reporter's two-word traffic report - profane but hilariously spot-on.
While the world spins out of control, a few try to reconnect with friends and family; among them is Dodge, who, with a fetching young neighbor (Knightley), embarks on a road trip to find his high-school sweetheart - and maybe make peace with some old ghosts as well.
As they wind their way through a surburban world of doom, panic and hedonistic frenzy, they slowly fall in love, despite - or perhaps because of - their differences.
On screen, Carell has practically patented the low-luck schmoe with a heart of gold ("Dan in Real Life," "Crazy Stupid Love," "Date Night"), and this appealing persona plays nicely against the breathless vivacity that Knightley brings to nearly every role.
Her imploring speech to the policeman is a masterpiece. Speaking of which, Bob Stephenson is terrific as this cop who still wants to make his quota; watch also for excellent support from Derek Luke, William Petersen and Martin Sheen.
Not to mention splendid soundtrack tunes from nearly every pop era, with heartbreaking use of the Walker Brothers' aptly titled "Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore."
"Seeking a Friend" nearly derails in the last few scenes, layering the sentiment on too thickly and asking us to believe in several impossibilities that I can't describe without spoiling things.
Yet even these scenes work fairly well, and the film emerges as transcendantly hopeful despite its grim premise.