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It's a Disaster (2013)

tomatometer

77

Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 44
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 10

A clever black comedy, It's a Disaster is sometimes uneven but the sharp writing and stellar ensemble cast keeps the film on track.

67

Average Rating: 5.1/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 10 | Rotten: 5

A clever black comedy, It's a Disaster is sometimes uneven but the sharp writing and stellar ensemble cast keeps the film on track.

audience

59

liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 9,006

Photos

My Rating

Movie Info

Eight friends meet for their monthly "couples brunch." But what starts as an impromptu therapy session / airing of domestic grievances takes a sudden, catastrophic turn when the city falls victim to a mysterious attack. Trapped in the house and unsure of their fates, these seemingly normal people become increasingly unhinged to hilarious, surprising, and revealing results. (c) Oscilloscope

R,

Comedy

Todd Berger

Jun 4, 2013

$57.2k

Oscilloscope Laboratories - Official Site External Icon

Watch It Now

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All Critics (44) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (10)

The humour may not be wickedly black, but once in a while it's amusingly beige.

April 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You certainly wouldn't want to spend your last moments with this bunch, but a couple of hours watching them is enjoyable enough.

April 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You need better dialogue than Berger supplies to help It's a Disaster make a liar out of its title.

April 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie's funniest touches are quiet flashes of character, expertly timed and nimbly played by a deft ensemble. "It's a Disaster" is consistently funny, but you wince more often than you laugh out loud.

April 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Berger never takes the camera more than a few yards outside the house, but that's fine; there's plenty going on inside, as characters carom off each other like billiard balls, slipping down pockets of misunderstanding and jealousy.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie elicits knowing smiles more than laughs, even as it reveals a boundless observational awareness about the beefs and slights that, for the small-minded, must feel like everyday Armageddons.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A unique twist on a tired genre turns into a tired twist on a unique genre.

June 15, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

Full of ingenuity and genuine surprises, this movie.

February 16, 2014 Full Review Source: Quickflix
Quickflix

A more witty, nuanced, subtle, adult version of "This is the End."

January 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

As visually interesting as nuclear fallout.

January 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinemania

A smart character-driven droll comedy disaster pic.

December 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The title does not describe the quality of this low-budget dark comedy.

June 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinemalogue.com
Cinemalogue.com

A quirky comedy of manners about the last party you would ever want to attend.

April 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

If you can look past the awkwardness of humor based on being unexpectedly trapped in a house during a major emergency, it's an acutely observed, frequently funny piece of work.

April 25, 2013 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Despite the strength of his writing and his cast, Berger still falters when it comes to the final act.

April 19, 2013 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

While Berger's approach to satire and social commentary is somewhat scattershot, his reference-heavy dialogue is sharp enough to allow each cast member to make an impression.

April 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

Berger's one to watch.

April 19, 2013 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Berger peppers the dialogue with enough clever lines and observational humor about the nature of relationships and human fallibility to make for an entertaining and darkly comic film.

April 18, 2013 Full Review Source: Austin American-Statesman
Austin American-Statesman

"It's a Disaster" wouldn't be a bad choice for the last movie you see before life on Earth comes to a crashing halt.

April 17, 2013 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

An uneven, underwritten amalgam of comedy, drama and suspense that fails to pack a comedic, emotional or intellectual punch.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru
NYC Movie Guru

Dark end-of-the-world comedy is witty but mature.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

A character-driven drama that mixes humor and seriousness when eight people are forced to take stock of their options as a nerve-gas cloud heads their way.

April 12, 2013 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for It's a Disaster

Average at best. Not bad. Not great. Barely a chuckle from me...
August 30, 2013
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

Funny and quirky are the two words to best describe this movie. I really liked it. I loved the odd banter and all of the unique characters. I also liked the way it was filmed. It's not a movie that looked like it took a lot of effort to create. It kind of made you feel like you were a fly on the wall and a part of the story. I would definitely watch this again.
August 27, 2013
LWOODS04
♥˩ƳИИ ƜѲѲƉƧ♥

Super Reviewer

four stars!!!
June 10, 2013
YodaMasterJedi
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

Dark are these days, as disaster strikes a California town and threatens the lives of many a hipster and jerk who is more interested in bickering amongst friends then bio-terrorism. ..."Oh yeah, now that really does sound like a serious disaster right there, and I just don't know how we'll ever get over it". Okay, maybe the leads in this film aren't all that hipster, but they're Californian jerks... or rather, Californians, so they're not far off enough for me to feel as though there really is an epidemic in California: an abundance of hipsters. Hey, I'll run with it, because even though hipsters are obnoxious, they do have a tendency to make some pretty decent dark comedies, like this one, which you know is really hipster, because it shares a name with a song by Ok Go. Ouch, now that's pretty hipster right there, and David Cross' big goofy glasses have never really helped, but hey, according to this film, he can land Julia Stiles, so I guess he couldn't be that obnoxious. Well, okay, Stiles is far from all that, and at any rate, as much as everyone is complaining about how weird it is seeing Cross score Stiles in this film, he scored Amber Tamblyn in real life, and she's nearly 20 years younger than him, so I guess Chris Cox of Spill.com was right when he said that funny can give some guys too many points. Oh well, the point is that Cross is indeed funny, not unlike this film, and yet, while this effort is far from a disaster itself, it's not much of a triumph, and not just because it's expecting us to be compelled by hipsters... or whatever these people are (Curse you and your glasses, Dave!).

I suppose some characters are more relatively likable than others, but most everyone has an obnoxious moment that distances, and, quite frankly, would be easier to forgive if there was more believability. There are questionable character actions and reactions to certain scenarios which annoy as distant from reasonable behavior, especially when the believability lapses break a tone that is generally more down-to-earth than I was expecting. Inconsistencies in the believability of this film's characterization makes the narrative hard to take seriously, and inconsistencies in focus don't exactly help, for although the film isn't terribly jarring in its juggling themes on how people interpret danger differently, and how people interact rather bitterly, both with and without dangers being taken into account, after a while, conflicts clash and storytelling has trouble keeping its layers dynamic, resulting in an unfocused feel. Not everything is level in this unevenly characterized and even somewhat unevenly focused dark comedy, and yet, outside of maybe the unlikable character traits, the storytelling missteps just discussed aren't quite as severe as I make them sound, so at the end of the day, there's not a whole lot to complain about, and that's exactly this film's biggest problem. Not only is there only so much to criticize, there is also only so much praise, because there's only so much to actually talk about with this minimalist story concept that doesn't even have to be all that minimalist, possessing themes that could be interpreted into a solid comedic thriller or something, but ultimately interpreting them into a barely consequential, paper-thin narrative whose forcefully trying to trim down on conflict gets to be repetitious after a while. The film is bland, plain and simple, and sure, it's not as bland as I feared it would be, let alone as dull as it could have been, but at the end of the day, there's only so much to work with here, and that's especially hard to deny when inconsistencies and unlikable character traits help solidify the final product as underwhelming, if not kind of forgettable. The film is misguided, although it isn't the, if you will, "disaster" that it could have been, being flawed, make no mistake, but fair, even musically.

If nothing else is commendable about this film's soundtrack, it's its diversity, and although there are some questionable contemporary touches, a colorful range of often decent tunes - which include classical masterpieces, indie efforts and plenty of lesser-known pieces - compliments tonal layers, however limited they may be in this minimalist dark comedy. The soundtrack is pretty decent in this film, and yet, I must admit that outside of that, there's not much to aesthetically commend as supplementary to entertainment value, so in order for liveliness to be sustained, some colorful tunes cannot work alone. In regards to Todd Berger's directorial performance, there's not really all that much material to work with here, but Berger never quite allows momentum to slow down all that much, playing up sharpness in writing and acting with enough spark to sustain an adequately entertaining pace, which, make no mistake, still at least needs sharpness in writing in order to work. As for Berger's writing, characterization is questionable, with lapses in believability and likability, but its diversity is pretty intriguing, while humor proves to be more engaging, being clever, but audacious enough to hold some flavor and bite to go with pretty sharp, if sometimes somewhat over-the-top satire. The film is funny, maybe even about as fun as it can be with such minimalist subject matter, and for this, credit is due to Berger's offscreen performances as both director and writer, which hold entertainment value through problematic storytelling elements, while the onscreen performances ice the cake. There is pretty solid bittersweet chemistry across the board within this talented cast that sells the conflicts and strengths amongst the leads, and when it comes to these leads' individual charismas, they sell the roles and humor better than Berger's somewhat problematically characterized script. Yeah, like I said, due to natural shortcomings, there's about as little material to praise as there is to criticize, but as surely as the missteps stand as somewhat palpable, the strengths stand as firm, maybe not as outstanding, but certainly as endearing, with enough charming wit, comfortable pacing and entertaining effectiveness to make a pretty fun, if rather forgettable dark comedy.

When it's all said and done, lapses in characterization likability and believability, as well as unevenness, make worse the sting of natural shortcomings that hold the final product back as underwhelming, but there is enough nifty diversity to the soundtrack, briskness to the directorial pacing, cleverness to the writing and charm to the performances to make Todd Berger's "It's a Disaster" a pretty entertaining, if naturally held back study on human interactions in the face of disaster.

2.5/5 - Fair
January 12, 2014
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron Johnson

Super Reviewer

    1. Lexi Kivel: Have fun shitting blood.
    – Submitted by Frances H (10 months ago)
    1. Lexi Kivel: We should probably live these last few moments on earth to the fullest.....either way, I say we get nuts.
    – Submitted by Frances H (10 months ago)
View all quotes (2)

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