The film is filled with scene-stealing cameos from the likes of Adam Brody as Penny’s boyfriend Owen and Connie Britton as Dodge’s married-with-children friend who happily welcomes heroin to an Apocalyptic dinner party. There is a marvellous turn by Young Adults' Patton Oswalt as the former nerd coming into his own at the End of Days.
The first half of the film is full of laugh-out-loud humour by people who definitely don’t have to worry about consequences. There is also a more than well-observed sequence with the pair visiting a Friendly’s restaurant chain – TFI Fridays without the moral code – which is a comedy highlight.
The film then shifts gears into a more contemplative story with Dodge and Penny finding themselves to be friends at the End of the World. There is a very poignant phone call to Penny’s parents which is well handled and doesn’t force the inevitable tears. Just as the film begins to flounder, Martin Sheen is introduced and his subtle, but all-too-brief touch is a welcome addition to the cast. However, director and writer Lorene Scafaria brings in a Rom-Com element which burdens a script that began with so much promise. Though well cast as friends, Carell and Knightley don’t completely convince as lovers. The closing scene is a satisfying kind way to end an Apocalyptic themed film, be it with characters creating their own wish fulfilment or really meaning what they say to each other.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World might have worked that bit better had Scafaria kept to the ‘friend’ aspect of the film’s title. However, overall it does manage to be funny, touching and kind, although perhaps a little misguided with its Rom-Com aspirations.