It’s the end of the world. Your last remaining hours will be spent with five other individuals who care about you as much as they care about the Filipino telemarketer on the other end of their landline. Also, you’re on your third date with a woman who possibly thinks you’re insane. Plausible scenario yes, but for Glen this isn’t a scenario, “It’s a Disaster”.
In “It’s a Disaster”, Glen (David Cross) becomes one fourth of a couples quartet when his new girlfriend Tracy (Julia Stiles) brings him to a couples brunch to meet her remaining orchestra of friends: Pete (Blaise Miller) and Emma (Erinn Hayes), also known as golden couple of the decade; twelfth grade chemistry teacher Hedy (America Ferrera) and her socially inept fiancé Shane (Jeff Grace), and amorous and aspiring musicians Buck (Kevin M. Brennan) and Lexi (Rachel Boston). Eventually, a string of questionable motives creates tension between the golden couple which causes Emma to storm out of the house in a fury, but before she can fully flee, she is greeted by their next door neighbour Hal (Todd Berger), dressed in a bright yellow hazmat suit, who reveals that several dirty bombs have been released in the downtown area and the entire city is under quarantine.
Written and directed by Todd Berger, the dark comedy film redefines the apocalyptic ideal that is so commonly regurgitated in popular culture by satirizing the genre, overcompensating it with dark humour and absurdity.
“It’s a Disaster” manages to pleasantly suffocate the viewer as they watch in agony as four couples spend their last living moments together battling fits of rage, disappointment, resentment, love, and forgiveness whilst counting down the hours until they all perish in an oxidized cloud of chemical toxicity.
Shot entirely in and around a suburban house, we watch as each character diminishes slowly to their wits end. Hedy drifts into shock and spirals into a fit of binge drinking and drugs to distract her from the impending doom of death. After being pried away from all technological correspondences, Shane is convinced that the city is slowly being abducted by extra -terrestrials or worse, the North Koreans. Meanwhile, Pete and Emma play hide and seek with each other after the horrid revelation that they are getting divorced after eight years of marriage. Buck and Lexi bounce blissfully amongst everyone else and themselves providing comic relief against the obvious terror that encapsulates them all. Consequently, the straight man within the group, Tracy, drifts from person to person like a dose of human Adderall while her beau, Glen tries to stay calm.
A fabulous script in harmony with a brilliant cast of actors, “It’s a Disaster” is a definite treat for both fans of the genre and general audiences. The comedic timing from both Stiles and Hayes is to be admired and Cross delivers his best “deranged” as per usual. Alternatively, the film thrives from Berger’s capacity to create an atmosphere for Darwin’s theory to prosper and thus, criticizes our individual liberty, against the societal conformity, that we all fall privy to.
A commentary on the incongruity of our modern age, “It’s a Disaster” muddles through the complexities of relationships between friends and lovers a midst the trauma of imminent death. The delightful ensemble unpacks their neurosis for the whole world to see; each character struggles to come to grips with their personal failures in the midst of their final hours and in doing so, come to a delightful resolve.