Film Review: ‘It’s a Disaster’

WEK_ItsaDisaster_0412

The cast of “It’s a Disaster” try not to react to the end of the world (or at least Los Angeles).
Credit: Oscilloscope Laboratories

‘It’s a Disaster’
Director: Todd Berger
Stars: David Cross, Julia Stiles
Rating: R
2 (out of 5) Globes

“Kick-me titles” are rarely as hard to resist as “It’s a Disaster.” So it’s sad to report that the film that bears its name is merely only fitfully amusing, with a couple of decent ideas amidst a desert of lazy dead weight. David Cross plays, improbably, the straight man, invited into a house of grotesques for Sunday brunch. His new girlfriend (Julia Stiles) seems relatively together, apart from the fact that her friends are crazy (or maybe simply obnoxious) even before downing a few drinks. Extremely mild chaos ensues, even after it’s realized, belatedly, that dirty bombs have been set off all over the country, and that everyone is not long for a disgusting death.

“Disaster” is the second feature from the Los Angeles-based comedy troupe The Vacationers, whose shtick, evidently, is very — very, very — similar to the breed offered by “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (and to a lesser extent “The League” and “Workaholics”). It’s the apocalypse peopled by jerks, who are so wrapped up in themselves they can’t even grasp the basic notion of their eclipsing mortality. While the smartest one (America Ferrara, the other name dropped into a cast of fresh faces) turns to drink, the host couple, who were going to use the occasion to announce their pending divorce, waste time listening to satellite radio and sifting through old photos, as though the world wasn’t about to end.

This one joke — a casual apocalypse — is amusing in theory but only fitfully in practice. The Vactioners have a gift for darkly comic semi-inspiration, but they wield this power too infrequently, leaning instead on banter that more often than not reveals only that they can crack eachother up, if not those watching them. Most of “Disaster” feels first-draft, as though the cast recorded an improv bout that seemed gangbusters at the time. That it regulates the most talented stars to a mere comedy sound board (Cross) and a drunk (Ferrara) is not a good sign, and it’s telling that, once Cross is belatedly allowed to break out, he scores a decent yuk with a “Saul of Tarsus” one-liner. There’s no budget to revel in end times hysteria — as there apparently is for “This is the End,” the extremely similar forthcoming Apatow fest — but being stuck in a single house is no excuse for only rewarding its characters with three or four things of mild amusement to do.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.