First Hit: I liked this film although there were pieces missing.
The world is coming to an end by an asteroid that is going to hit the earth in 21 days. As Dodge (played by Steve Carell) and his wife listen to the news parked in their car, he is solemn, quite, within himself.
His wife, without saying a word, opens the car door and runs away from him. This set up lets us know that he’s not been close with his wife and they probably didn’t communicate at all. He goes home, tries to get his housekeeper to quit because of the end of the world status, but she doesn’t want to.
This is the running joke in the film. He meets up with his young neighbor Penny (played by Keira Knightley) who is crying on his fire escape because her boyfriend is leaving and she has missed the last plane available to fly home to see her family in England.
They become friends. Riots start erupting in their city so they leave in her car. He promises that he knows someone with a plane and will guide her there if she will take him to his long lost high-school love. She wants to see her family before the world’s demise and he thinks he can find love again.
Dodge is a very dour character. He has little life in him and in some cases his part feels forced. However, Penny’s character is full of emotion, juxtapositions and oddities like being able to sleep through anything.
The film doesn’t tie together all the pieces very well but it was Penny’s part that kept me engaged with the story.
Carell came across as required in his character – meaning I couldn’t feel him being the character he was playing. He was close at times, but not enough. Knightley was far more moving and interesting in her role. Martin Sheen in a small part, as Dodge’s father, was excellent. Lorene Scafaria wrote and directed this film. I’m not sure whether it was poor direction or poor acting on Carell’s part that made the film seem like it wasn’t firing on all cylinders.
Overall: I thoroughly enjoyed moments in this film but at other times it seem overly controlled.