This 2012 comedy-drama was a bit of a nut to crack. It was a definitely a slow burn with the humor being more a result of absurdism than anything (link note: I linked to the Wiki article because if you're not familiar with absurdism, it's hardcore in this movie and it might be nice to at least be cognizant of it).
For all the absurdity, much of the film rang true in a way that many apocalyptic movies never have. Yes, obviously there would be preppers and riots and whatnot, but the everything as normal save everyone's expiration date in site affecting everyone's actions and emotions, it just felt real.
Real and slow.
It takes a good portion of the build-up for Steve Carell's character, Dodge, to well, get the hell out of Dodge, and even after connecting with Keira Knightley's Penny and being saddled with a stray dog, it takes a riot to push him to go after his high school sweetheart.
Once the set-up was through though, this movie became absolutely charming.
Thinking about writing this review up as I watched it, I was surprised to realize that I was going to be giving the movie an A-, the big 9-oh.
The set-up was long and slow after all, and some of the moments as they got started on their journey was seemingly only to annoy (or push down) Dodge's character some more, and at those times, I was only watching because of my strong desire to have watched this since I heard of it. If I had not been interested in it, I may have turned it off on one of my more cynical of days.
So once it captivated me, I still found myself going back and saying that the beginning was too slow, it was too unnecessary to do that much set-up.
And then, it got even better.
And the last few minutes were not just wonderful and perfect and the feels and all, but tied together the entire movie. It was perfectly orchestrated. At no time did the obvious loaded rifle rear its head, and yet everything happened for a reason, and yet it didn't feel contrived. It felt magickal.
I did not cry at the end, and I don't hold the movie or director accountable for that. It's not a bad thing. They chose not to push the heart strings attached to tragedy necessary to cause that reaction. Instead, it was just fantastically charming and sweet and romantic.
Zero Review: A: 9.5/10
Here's the Amazon link if you're interested: