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The Boston Globe


Top picks | DVD releases

Laughing at the ultimate ending

It’s not as if Steve Carell is a stranger to morose comedy. He’s got credits like “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “Dan in Real Life,” of course, but even “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” is a big dose of melancholy lightened up with chest-grooming gags, and Michael Scott endured his share of heartache on “The Office.” Still, Carell takes things to a new level in “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” (2012), a clever bit of speculative strangeness from first-time director Lorene Scafaria (writer of “Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist”). Despite trailers predictably trying to sell the low-fi apocalyptic story as a breezy Carell-Keira Knightley rom-com — “Road to Nowhere” was the no-brainer promo tune — the movie is considerably more soulful than that, and confidently relegates its levity to wry details. (If you think T.G.I. Friday’s-mandated festiveness is a bit much, you should see how goofy it gets with news of an asteroid’s imminent catastrophic impact.) Carell’s Dodge Petersen is an everyguy seemingly destined to die alone — albeit in a way he never imagined — until a letter from a lost love sends him on a road trip toward fulfillment. Knightley is his deep-feeling neighbor, travel companion, and increasingly kindred spirit. Extras: Scafaria supplies feel-good commentary with her mom, among others. If only she offered more on how she lined up her crazy-eclectic ensemble. William Petersen as a hitchhiker-friendly trucker? (Universal, $29.98; Blu-ray, $34.98)


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