I missed this movie when it first came out (in 2012!) and just picked it up recently at my library. Another semi-comedy about the end of the world, I found it thought-provoking…in ways good and bad!
The premise centers around the end of the world by asteroid–everyone knows the asteroid is coming in three weeks, all of life will be wiped out, and nothing can be done to prevent it. Society is mostly holding together but starting to fragment (planes are no longer flying, phone service is down–which is plot convenient). Dodge (Steve Carrell) has no particular plans for his final weeks, as he seems to be the movie trope of a hero who wasn’t really living his life to begin with. But then he meets Penny (Kiera Knightley), his quirky, passionate neighbor. She wants to get to England to reunite with her family; he decides to seek out his long-lost first love. She has a car and he knows a guy with a plane, so they set out together.
The concept of the world ending, but with a few weeks notice, was really interesting. Maybe it helped that it was an asteroid strike–whatever the actual odds, it feels out there and unreal enough that I could think of it abstractly. Nuclear war and cancer diagnosis stories more likely make me anxious or depressed. But this was pretty good as a thought experiment, about what becomes really important under that kind of time pressure. How do you live your life when you have only a small amount of time left? Some people rioted, some partied, others went on as though nothing was changed, one woman decided to wear all the beautiful things she bought but had been saving.