It's a Disaster

Critics Consensus

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

79%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 48

60%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,523
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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

Cast

Julia Stiles
as Tracy Scott
David Cross
as Glen Randolph
America Ferrera
as Hedy Galili
Erinn Hayes
as Emma Mandrake
Jeff Grace (II)
as Shane Owens
Rachel Boston
as Lexi Kivel
Kevin M. Brennan
as Buck Kivel
Kevin Brennan
as Buck Kivel
Blaise Miller
as Pete Mandrake
Todd Berger
as Hal Lousteau
Jesse Draper
as Suzannah Price
Laura Adkin
as Jenny Alexander
Rob McGilivray
as Gordon Alexander
Helena Wei
as Emergency Broadcast Announcer
Will T.S. Coleman
as Public Radio DJ
Jared Sosa
as John from Liberty Financial
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News & Interviews for It's a Disaster

Critic Reviews for It's a Disaster

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (10)

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

    Apr 19, 2013 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • You certainly wouldn't want to spend your last moments with this bunch, but a couple of hours watching them is enjoyable enough.

    Apr 18, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • You need better dialogue than Berger supplies to help It's a Disaster make a liar out of its title.

    Apr 18, 2013 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 18, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 12, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Apr 12, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for It's a Disaster

  • Apr 30, 2015
    Well, it didn't start that way...although Tracy(Julia Stiles), a doctor, and Glen(David Cross), a teacher, arrive at couples brunch arguing over when to shut the car radio off. Admittedly, he is a little nervous to meet her friends for the first time. But soon enough the men go into the living room to watch the game while Shane(Jeff Grace) is trying to get a copy of Uncanny X-Men #120 online for $5. Then, a neighbor shows up wearing a hazmat suit... With its neat use of classical music and an important lesson of never, ever being late for brunch, "It's A Disaster" is a witty dark comedy about relationships. What starts the conversation and interaction going is not the guacamole hitting the fan; rather it is when the modern technology goes out that the characters have to talk to each other for a change. That leaves it up to a good cast, especially America Ferrera and a surprisingly tolerable David Cross, to carry the day. Plus, the movie ends on a perfect note.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 10, 2014
    There are have been many independent films coming out that feature a rag-tag group of friends hashing out their issues in an enclosed space, a la bottle episodes of TV shows. Unlike those films, this film correctly edges humor in its characters, and also explores really interesting and thoughtful issues. The characters are unexpectedly fun to watch and their reactions to the end of the world are exceptional and downright laughable. Cross entertains throughout, but especially at the end, Ferrara is perky but negative towards the outcome, Hayes and Miller have superb chemistry as a separated married couple, and Stiles' remains shamelessly self-serving, a radical idea to the other characters. It's possible that the adorable ending also pushed me into liking this film, as it was unexpected. It's great to see a film be okay with not resolving everything, not tying up its character development into a little bow and yelling, "Done!" Of all the indies I've watched lately, this one actually surprised me, which is hard to do.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 12, 2014
    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
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Aug 19, 2013
    It's A Disaster is a very dark comedy that stands out from most these days. It's razor sharp dialogue and perfect comedic timing by the actors and filmmakers make it a thoroughly enjoyable watch. For some reason however, I just don't feel like it's going to be remembered by many, myself included. It's unjustifiable, because it is quite funny, but it seem like a film that will stand the test of time. In spite of that, see this movie! ~ B
    Brad S Super Reviewer

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