Directed by Todd Berger
Written by Todd Berger
Cast: Julia Stiles, David Cross, America Ferrera, Errin Hayes, Jeff Grace, Rachel Boston, Kevin M. Brennan
It’s A Disaster is the first is a string of apocalyptic comedies to be released this summer. It’s not the first of it’s ilk, however, last year brought us Steve Carell’s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. These films take the opportunity to play out what seems to be a major cultural fear of our time — the end of the world — and juxtapose it with zany plots featuring mostly comedic actors.
The trick being if the world weren’t ending – if our worst nightmares weren’t coming true – this situation wouldn’t be so funny. The sub-genre of end of the world comedy already seems to be parodying itself in the trailers for This is the End, the It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World of apocalyptic comedies. But before that swan song, we have been given It’s a Disaster.
The film concerns a group of friends having a couple’s brunch when the world suddenly ends. The methods of which are a dirty bomb or some such nerve gas. Thus the group of old friends and new acquaintances is trapped in a house and, invariably, their problems and quirks come to the fore. Each couple represents a common relationship problem; there’s the couple who’s afraid to commit, the couple who are always cheating on each other, the couple getting a divorce, and the couple who are still getting to know each other.
The two getting to know each other are David Cross’s Glen and Julia Stile’s Tracy. They are the main focus as two older individuals who find themselves in that shaky part of a relationship right at the beginning when you’re still figuring out who the other person is. It is not until around the middle of the film we learn Tracy is willing to sacrifice her friends and that Glen is a religious nut. Stunts like that are funny, but leave the audience feeling betrayed – weren’t we rooting for these characters? Guess not.
When, at its core the film should be a parable for the delicate developing relationship between Tracy and Glen It’s a Disaster instead goes for laughs every time. It’s kind of an obnoxious film. An immature script with no heart, just a comedy troupe finding the plot as an excuse to fire off as many zany and ridiculous jokes as possible. For this reason, It’s a Disaster feels like a ‘Funny or Die’ video stretched to feature length.
Beyond that, certain members of the cast feel underutilized. Not the least of whom is David Cross. His character, along with that of America Ferrera’s, feel nudged aside. He’s clearly not as at ease as the rest of the cast. Square pegs in the round hole of this film.
The only memorable moments you’ll take away from It’s a Disaster are a few of the better jokes and maybe one of the shocking character changes. Personally, I wish I could forget the meandering and mostly annoying ending. But most of all It’s a Disaster made me remember that it’s not 2012 anymore. The memory of December 21 is fading quickly. These apocalypse comedies are a one year phenomenon, and that year was last year.