Generally, the term “disaster film” conjures up images of big-budget destruction, monuments falling into oceans, traffic jams trying to escape burning and exploding cities – your basic Roland Emmerich scenario. Of course, indie films like It’s a Disaster can’t really afford the kind of effects that characterize vapid blockbusters, but it makes up for it with something much better: a witty rapid-fire script and an ensemble of well-drawn (if recognizable) characters. It’s a disaster film in semantics only, really, as the disaster takes place off-screen, leaving us to watch the characters’ reactions to the knowledge of the disaster rather than the disaster itself. Frankly, it’s a good choice.
It’s Couples Brunch at Pete and Emma’s, a tradition that everyone comes to without really enjoying. Tracy (Julia Stiles) brings her new beau Glenn (David Cross) to meet the rest of the crew, who we get introduced to with along with him. Pete and Emma (Blaise Miller and Erinn Hayes) seem to have the perfect life and marriage, including the lovely little home they own, Buck and Lexi (Kevin Brennan and Rachel Boston) are unconventional and kind of manic but wildly happy with each other, and Hedy and Shane (America Ferrera and Jeff Grace) are a long-time couple who haven’t quite gotten around to getting married yet, a sore subject in some ways. For her part, Tracy is known for a long string of guys she’s dated, all of which have turned out to be crazy, and she’s hoping the seemingly grounded Glenn will be different. Behind the typical small talk and gossip, though, an undercurrent of suppressed relationship drama broils beneath the surface.