Every few weeks I head on over to the Netflix site and look through the newly added movies and TV shows. Usually, there’s nothing to write home about, but this week had a pretty interesting crop of films including It’s A Disaster, an end-of-the-world comedy I’d never heard of, but was intrigued by. In addition to the general plot — four couples are hanging out when a bunch of dirty bombs go off, the drama of which uncovers their equally dirty relationship secrets — I was also drawn to the film by David Cross’ involvement. I’ve been a fan of that guy’s since Arrested Development and got to know him even better through his comedy albums thanks to my buddy Rickey Purdin.
To get a bit more into the plot, Cross’ character Glen has just started dating Tracy (Julia Stiles) who has a tradition with her couple friends of getting together for brunch on the weekends. They’re at seemingly happy Emma and Pete’s house and joined by free spirited married couple Lexi and Buck as well as science teacher Hedy (America Ferrera) and nerd Shane. I won’d get too deeply into the details of how these couples start falling apart, but things like infidelity and longstanding personal doubts make the possible impending apocalypse even harder to deal with.
Much like Shaun Of The Dead, the film lets the viewer spend some time with this fast, over-talking group of friends — and Glen — who are going about their normal, brunch-loving lives as a series of dirty bombs are set off across the country. As you might expect, they’re pretty oblivious to all this once the power, internet and phone all go out. From there, they do their best to figure out what’s happening — including a talk with their prepper neighbor and asking an international telemarketer for an update — but the real thrust of the story revolves around mixing and matching these characters and seeing what kind of truths come out from those interactions.
While there are elements of this movie that I wasn’t a huge fan of — the geek is ultra nerdy and, of course, the one who starts thinking that zombies or other monsters might spawn from this attack — but overall I liked how these actors played off of each other. A lot of that is thanks to their obvious talents, but writer and director Todd Berger also did a great job of crafting a solid, compact story that realistically explores the emotions people would go through when everything comes crashing down. There’s even a twist element in the ending that definitely switched things up and drove the film to its abrupt conclusion. I think this is the kind of film that can only benefit from more viewings both to see how the twist is hinted at and to grab on to more of the quick dialog.