Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review 181: "It's a Disaster"

Well, more like a misfire.

It's At Least a Nice Poster

     Indie films a interesting to watch. They can either do something different than the mainstream and make a good movie. Or those new ideas can fail and we discover why nobody else used them in the first place. And then some have a premise that ends up getting used better in a mainstream film released later in the year. Guess which one this is. It's a Disaster is written and directed by Todd Berger (The Smurfs Christmas Carol) and follows several couples at a dinner party. Tracy (Julia Stiles) has brought new boyfriend Glen (David Cross). Emma (Erinn Hayes) and her husband Pete (Blaise Miller) are secretly getting a divorce. Lexi (Rachel Boston) and Buck (Kevin M. Brennan) have an open-relationship. And Hedy (America Ferrera) and Shane (Jeff Grace) are on the rocks. The party gets off to an awkward start and only gets worse when an apocalyptic event occurs and the couples all get trapped in the house.

Lovely people. Ish.
It's Kinda Funny

      If you haven't already figured it out, the film seems a little more than similar to This Is the End, which granted did come out second. The other thing about the films is that It's a Disaster is not nearly as good. It does try. I can think of more than a few times when I laughed at the film's dark humor. Two scenes in particular stand out. One scene in which director Berger cameos as one of the group's neighbors, who breaks the bad news to them. And in another scene a couple that comes late to the party arrive, though after the apocalypse has happened. And the acting is good... by some of the cast. Cross is great as usual and both Hayes and Miller make for the most interesting couple. But the rest of the actors struggle with the film's main problem.

It's a Little Quirky

      Where as This Is the End went for big laughs with crazy ideas and strong characters, It's a Disaster goes for big laughs with "quirky" characters and "quirky" dialogue. And it doesn't really work. The actors, and the film as a whole, feels so self-contentious that is suffocates the cool premise. The idea of showing an apocalypse from the point-of-view of normal people on a normal night out is a cool and potentially funny one. However, the film tries so hard to be weird and different that it just becomes bland and forgettable. Most characters  personalities change when they need to get a joke, especially in an awful third act twist that leads to a shocking thud of an ending. And most humor comes off as forced and weak. Indie films seem drawn to being quirky and it can work. Here, however, it's not really needed and it tries so hard it ruins what could have been great.

Hi, Mr. Director!
It's a Verdict

      While it might not be a disaster, It's a Disaster certainly isn't a success. While some actors do a good job and some jokes do work well, the majority of the film just fall flat. The film tries to be quirky, which causes most of the actors to try too hard and most of the jokes to not be funny. The story suffers too, taking a terrific premise and limiting it to the point of boredom. It's a Disaster might show an apocalypse, but it's on too small a scale to matter much. It's a Disaster gets 3 stars out of 6.

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