Most comedies rely solely on comedy hay-makers - large, over-the-top gags designed solely for applause break laughs. 'It's A Disaster,' however, is the rare comedy that scores a KO via sharp, hard-hitting comedy jabs.
In short: eight friends gather for their regular Sunday brunch when they get word of a horrible terrorist attack. This disaster, however, does not stop them from sniping and taking passive aggressive shots at each other.
The layering an indie comedy over a disaster backdrop works perfectly here. The consequences of the disaster plot are ever present from the beginning of the movie - but it's always in the background. The terrorist attacks highlight just how each of characters would react - from pragmatic fatalism, paranoia to catatonic shock. The characters' responses to a terrible terrorist attack takes center stage.
The key reason 'Disaster' works is the organic feeling back-and-forth dynamic between the characters. This genuinely feels like a group with years of history who communicate in almost a familial manner - often talking over each other and relating with ease. The comedy comes from its subtle, but hard-hitting script - many of the biggest laughs come from quick, surprising comedic jabs.
The first act, however, is pleasant but it is a little slow. The first act builds a solid foundation for the rest of the film to launch from - however, the early third works harder in establishing background and an indie/organic tone than actually delivering many punchlines. The jokes begin to pick up immediately as the second act begins. Some of the jokes are a little over-the-top and not all of the lines work, but the vast majority do work.
'It's a Disaster' is a strong comedy with great comedic timing -- but its slow start that takes up a significant portion of its 90-minute running time is the main reason it falls short of a 4-star rating.
Final verdict: Highly recommended for comedy fans.