If the characters in The Breakfast Club grew up, stayed friends, and then a nuclear disaster struck during a couples get-together, you might get something that looks a little bit like It’s a Disaster.
It’s a Disaster is a quirky, dark comedy about a group of self-centered friends stuck in a house together with impending death looming over them in the form of a chemical weapon that has been set off in their city.
The film largely relies on its quirky cast of characters and the strength of its script, since the most of the film takes place in one setting – a single two-story house – where these characters are stuck with each other for better or for worse. It’s a testament to those things that you actually become engaged with the film and you want to know what secrets these people are keeping, what the deal is with certain couples, etc. – all of which is revealed during the course of the film.
David Cross plays Glen, the newest addition to Sunday couples brunch, and he mostly serves as the outcast and seemingly good-natured, nice guy who struggles to fit in with his girlfriend’s group of friends. Julia Stiles plays said girlfriend – Tracy – a doctor whose had a pretty bad track record in the dating department.
These friends have so much tension and secrets between them, especially the couples, that naturally everything comes to a head when the power goes off and one of the couples reveals that they’re getting divorced. Later, a man in a hazmat suit – the next-door neighboor – comes to tell them about the dirty bombs that have been set off downtown, before promptly leaving the friends to fend for themselves since he only came by to ask for batteries for his emergency flashlight.
More built-up tensions begin to boil over from there, and you immediately get the sense the house is becoming too cramped as the movie progresses.
Hedy (America Ferrera) – a chemistry teacher who is the most knowledgeable about this subject matter – takes the news probably the worst out of the everyone, as she shuts down completely and is in shock for the rest of the movie. Her fiance (Jeff Grace), whom she’s been engaged to for six years, is a neurotic conspiracy theorist and science-fiction geek; it’s a wonder that these two people managed to have a relationship at all. Glen appears to be the most sympathetic and level-headed of the bunch, as he’s not caught up in any of the drama (he and Tracy even share an endearing moment in which they lament ‘what-could-have-been’) but even that begins to unravel.
Meanwhile, some characters are more caught up in their personal and relationship problems. The couple hosting the brunch – Pete (Blaise Miller) and Emma (Erinn Hayes) – were the most unbearable to watch, for me.
It’s a Disaster is an entertaining film with an interesting and unique take on the end-of-the-world trope. The humor isn’t too dark, the actors are fun to watch, and the ending is hit-or-miss.
Emma: We are proud homeowners – we got it real cheap because there was a murder-suicide in the kitchen.
Tracy: You know, I never went to Europe. Never. Not once. I never even went to Montreal, which I hear is very European. I never went scuba-diving, I never went to the ballet, I’ve never been in love. I’ve never even watched The Wire.
Glen: All of those things are overrated. Except for The Wire, that’s really good…
- Starring: America Ferrera, David Cross, Julia Stiles
- Directed by: Todd Berger
- Running Time: 88 minutes
- Genre: Comedy, Drama