First things first, this “end of the world” movie kicks “Melancholia’s” butt.
What would you do if you found out the world was going to end in three weeks? You might panic, you might riot, you might party, you might share “gallows” humor. Or if, like Steve Carell’s character, Dodge, you’ve just been dumped by your wife, you might be almost totally unemotional.
Dodge offers aid to his neighbor Penny, a free spirit type played by Keira Knightley. They soon leave the dangers of the city to embark on a road trip to see forgotten family members and ex-lovers before the end comes.
SAFFTEOTW has laughs and horrors. It contrasts order and chaos, sadness and joy, heartbreak and love. One hilarious scene on the road trip takes place at a bar/grill called “Friendsy’s” where the staff is just a bit too eager to please. This comes moments after a scene of surprise gruesomeness.
After the stop for food and drink at Friendsy’s, Dodge and Penny get back in the truck and satisfy other appetites. The stoic Dodge enjoys her company, but is intent on finding his old high school girlfriend. Penny, meanwhile, is mainly focused on seeing an old boyfriend and her folks before earth goes kaput.
SAFFTEOTW is a sweet movie. Lead actors who are easy to like, and a script that mixes light moments with heavy, result in successful film. In a situation that is desperate but inevitable, the tension that could overwhelm is tempered. Yes, it is the end of the world, but you won’t have your personal world too badly rocked.