I had my choice
between seeing Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter or this. I
chose this because it seemed the least idiotic of the two, although
this was a very difficult decision, epitomizing the least of two
obvious evils. Even so, I made a bad choice.
I understand that
Steve Carell is going around promoting this as a "dark comedy." It's
dark all right, but I didn't see anything comedic anywhere.
screenwriter Lorene Scafaria, in her directing debut, the film opens
with a newscaster saying that the world will end in 21 days because
a 70-mile wide asteroid is headed straight for the earth. There is
no hope. So Steve, whose wife runs out on him in the opening scenes,
meets Kiera Knightley and they head off on an extended road trip,
through alternating scenes of rioting, devastation, and then strange
calmness in other parts of the country through which they travel, to
find Steve's high school sweetheart with a secondary objective of
Kiera returning to her family.
Carell seems to
like to play depressed people, and that's what he does here. In so
doing, he transfers the depression to the audience. The only thing
that keeps the film moving is Knightley's optimistic, buoyant
outlook and attitude ("I'm optimistic"). Knightley carries the film;
the problem is that there is no place for it to go for her to carry
A romance about
the end of the world with no hope is a bad idea, especially since
there is no humor. This is a romcom without the com, and not a lot
of rom. I can't imagine why anybody would want to see this film, and
I couldn't recommend it, despite Knightley's fine performance. The
clock is ticking throughout the movie towards doomsday. It ticks not
for the characters, but for the audience.