Directed by Todd Berger, Written by Todd Berger
“It’s a Disaster” is an art-house, black comedy starring Rachel Boston, David Cross, America Ferrera, Jeff Grace, Erinn Hayes, Kevin M. Brennan, Blaise Miller, Julia Stiles, and Todd Berger; it is also directed and written by Todd Berger who is most notable for his work on the film “The Scenesters” and the acclaimed television show “Parks and Recreation.” Not only is “It’s a Disaster” an understated comedy that manages to create laughter with death, divorce, infidelity, and Nerve Gas, it does so under the horrible pretense of Armageddon!
“It’s a Disaster” explores the inner workings of couples and relationships all under the premise of destruction and death. It is clever and witty when it needs to be, but also raw and heartfelt. This adds to its charm by creating an emotional dichotomy between the characters, which not only escalates throughout the film but results in a fabulous twist that really cinches everything together in an epic finale.
The plot is fairly mundane in the fact that it primarily deals with couples, their relationship with one another at different stages of their pairing, as well as the couples’ interaction with one another in a public setting. In this instance, the public setting is the popular and much joked upon, ‘couple’s brunch.’
However, like aforementioned, this mundane situation is all under the umbrella of the Apocalypse. Essentially, the ensemble cast gets trapped in the host’s home during their regular brunch due to a series of dirty bombs that get released in their hometown. Jim Emerson’s synopsis on RogerEbert.com describes it succinctly:
Seven friends and one newcomer gather for a Sunday “couples brunch.” Because most of them have known one another for years, and because they are fairly petty and duplicitous, they embed covert barbs and hidden agendas in almost everything they say and do. Conversations appear familiar and convivial on the surface but carry a disconcerting undertone of cattiness that’s almost a private language.
Emerson, quickly hits upon the attenuation of the film. A lot of the conversations seem casual on the surface, but on a close (or second) watching the alternate meanings become more-and-more prevalent. The acting needed to be nuanced to pull off the script and for the cast pulls it off; each couple stands out uniquely against the next and thus brings something different to the proverbial table than the couple next to it. This is then bolstered by the quality writing; the jokes are frequent but subtle, which add to the overall tone of the film.
The only faltering aspect of the movie was the ending. I felt that such a carefully crafted film would have a more poignant conclusion, but the last seconds of the movie leave the audience feeling left empty. This doesn’t ruin the entire film, but it is a shame to leave such a great story left unfilled. On the whole though, I would still recommend “It’s a Disaster”; the journey alone is worth the viewing.
I would suggest “It’s a Disaster” to anyone interested in a charming, unique comedy that has a tendency to strike the dark side a little more frequently than most. “It’s a Disaster” garnishes four-out-of-five stars.
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