This is the third apocalyptic film I have seen this year. It’s a Disaster isn’t as funny as This is The End or The World’s End, but it is probably a bit better than either of them.
Writer/Director Todd Berger takes a different tact that taken by the other two. It’s a Disaster doesn’t aim for slapstick or physical comedy. No. It aims for black humor, the kind that isn’t laugh out loud, but can still be funny, in a way. For the most part he succeeds. There are some subtle moments of funny.
More importantly, there is some evaluation about what people might do if we were faced with the end of the world. I like that.
I also like that this one is about people, not the events. The events happen off stage and are told only through brief moments of exposition. We see how the people respond to those events. That is a very interesting way of approaching the content.
But it is also the film’s biggest problem. The 8 principles are all given at least one note and some are given two (notably David Cross’s Glenn Randolph, Erin Hayes’ Emma Mandrake and Blaise Miller’s Pete Mandrake) but none are given three. And even Glenn’s second note isn’t revealed until the very end of the film. A picture that wants to be about characters would have done well, I think, to have fewer. As it is, the people in this one are not well developed; they are caricatures. I wonder what might have been workable if Berger had eliminated one of the couples. Give us Julia Stiles’ Tracy Scott with her new boyfriend Glenn. Give us Emma and Pete. Give us Kevin Brennan’s Buck with his wife Lexi (Rachel Boston). Eliminate Jeff Grace’s Shane and America Ferrera’s Hedy. It isn’t that Grace or Ferrera were bad (quite the opposite); it’s that if you have six characters (instead of 8), you can probably spend more time with each of them and thereby develop all of them better.
All of the actors did well with their caricatures. But Julia Stiles was a step above the rest. At every turn.
The script/dialogue was good to very good. I’m not sure what this film was about, ultimately, outside of the way different humans respond to situations, but I am sure I like the picture anyway.