Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 53% (Critics) / 62% (Audience)
Directed By: Lorene Scafaria
Written By: Lorene Scafaria
Starring: Steve Carell and Keira Knightley
Studio: Focus Features
Synopsis: As an asteroid nears Earth, a man finds himself alone after his wife leaves in a panic. He decides to take a road trip to reunite with his high school sweetheart. Accompanying him is a neighbor who inadvertently puts a wrench in his plan.
This was a really sweetly funny movie despite the harbinger of impending doom hanging over the character’s heads. The unexpected chemistry between Carell and Knightley was a pleasant surprise too. Watching these two polar opposite characters fall in love came off very true despite how oddly matched they were.
Carell has gotten incredibly good at playing this type of character to that point that it seems like he is a different shade of the same guy in every movie but despite being repetitive it has not gotten old for me. Carell is a deceptively believable romantic lead and he made Dodge into a guy that, by the end of the world, the audience wanted to spend more time with. And I had forgotten how much fun Knightley can be since she spends the bulk of her time in those stuffy period dramas that require her to be a “Serious Actress”. She brought a breezy bohemian sparkle to Penny and never once did I question her developing feelings for Carrel’s Dodge.
I also admires Lorene Scafaria’s standing by her guns when it came to the ending of this film because I can only assume that test audiences probably were all of the opinion that the movie needed to be more light and upbeat.
The inclusion of scenes featuring Derek Luke as an ex-boyfriend of Knightley’s character seemed to be slapped in and served no true purpose since everything that came from it could have been accomplished in a million different ways. Its a shame because Luke is a really good actor but he seemed out of place in this film and in this role. Ultra-macho douchebaggery does not come easily to him as an acting method.
I would have enjoyed more scenes with Adam Brody as the Knightley character’s ne’er-do-well boyfriend. He was really funny as an idiotic, selfish man-child.
Final Verdict: Writer/Director Scafaria created a truly engaging and bittersweet romantic comedy that was sweetly funny enough to make me forget that there was a gigantic asteroid hurtling toward Earth and all of the characters I was enjoying so fully were scheduled to die shortly. The chemistry between the two leads, the strong writing and subtle direction by Scafaria and some really strong performances from some of my favorite actors (Patton Oswalt, Connie Britton, William Peterson and Rob Corddry) in small roles all added up to a truly entertaining “small” movie that I recommend wholeheartedly. B+