I lost count how many times the world was supposed to end in 2012, but as long as they keep making films like writer-director Todd Berger’s It’s A Disaster (2012) (as long as John Cusack or Tom Cruise aren’t in them), I’ll be more than happy. It’s a Disaster is a fun twist on the genre, as it focuses on a group of friends as the world around them is ending.
Every week a group of four couples come together for a weekly Sunday brunch. As we are introduced to each couple, we see that they each have their own quirks and role within the group, but it is evident that this routine is starting to feel more like a weekly Armageddon.
Regular brunch attendee, Tracy (Julia Stiles), brings her new boyfriend Glen (David Cross) to meet her friends at the brunch for the very first time. The two have only been on a date three times prior to the Sunday brunch and based off of conversations, there appears to be a continuous revolving door of men Tracy brings to these gatherings. The conversations are uncomfortable and genuine as the couples prod to learn more about Glen. As the men lose focus of Glen, they become more and more frustrated by the cable television, satellite radio and cell phone service all being out of service. The entire house doesn’t become aware of their fate until a bitter and uninvited neighbor stops by in a HAZMAT suit with some unfortunate news: Los Angeles has been bombed and gases are going to kill everyone.
As poisonous gasses begin to creep into the house, the couple’s interactions explode on screen. The straight-laced science schoolteacher goes all breaking-bad in the medicine cabinet and creates her own Ecstasy. DANCE PARTY! While another couple turn to their swinger exploitations to try and swing their way into the afterlife. Some people fight and some people detach, yet it is Glen who maintains his focus and becomes the most reliable person at the brunch.
Needless to say, secrets are voiced and tempers are flared. Pop-culture references are included and the always-hilarious David Cross provided just enough sensibility and comedy to the role that he finally gets an opportunity to shine in a film. Every character can be related to, and has their place within their group. For instance, we all have that friend who, even though the world is caving in around them, is still so dim-witted that learning ‘duck tape’ is really duct tape is just as mind-blowing as knowing they’re about to die.
Overall, the film has its ups and down, but provides enough humor and David Cross that it is fun all the way until its hilarious ending. This feels like a real-life end-of-the-world film. There are no 17-year-old nuclear scientists, martial artists, or superheroes that are going to save the day. There are only high school teachers, swingers, and a bald guy with thick-framed glasses.