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Laughing at the ultimate ending

From left: Keira Knightley, Gillian Jacobs, T.J. Miller, and Steve Carell in “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.”

Darren Michaels / Focus Features

From left: Keira Knightley, Gillian Jacobs, T.J. Miller, and Steve Carell in “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.”

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)

DRAMA

MAGIC MIKE (2012)

CHANNING TATUM as Mike in MAGIC MIKE

Claudette Barius/Warner Brothers Pictures

Channing Tatum in Magic Mike.

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Channing Tatum (inset) shows where he honed those “Step Up” dance moves, drawing on personal experience to play a male stripper searching for direction in life, even as he tries to offer some to new stagemate Alex Pettyfer. Director Steven Soderbergh works his contrasts hard, offsetting the sizzling stage sequences with lots of grounded, improvised dialogue and color-desaturated shots of mundane Floridian sprawl. Matthew McConaughey is the strip club’s boss. Extras: Everyone knows when to stop taking themselves seriously in a featurette. “It is a science,” says the costume designer. “Well, not a science — it’s tearaway pants on strippers.” (Warner, $28.98; Blu-ray, $35.99)

TELEVISION

THE FUGITIVE: THE MOST WANTED EDITION (1963-67)

There wasn’t any real fanfare surrounding the individual season releases of David Janssen’s odyssey as wrongly convicted Dr. Richard Kimble — a criminal offense almost as egregious as the One-Armed Man’s, when you consider that the finale set a ratings record that stood for 13 years. A new 33-disc, complete series set addresses this to a degree, complementing the program with talk show appearances by Janssen (inset) and a spotlight on Barry Morse, who played Kimble’s relentless pursuer, Lieutenant Gerard. There’s also a skit put on by Janssen and George Gobel for Dinah Shore. (Paramount, $226.99)

Tom Russo can be reached at trusso2222@gmail.com.
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