'It's a Disaster' Is Far From One

The end of the world is no excuse for imprecise language, at least not for the four couples at the center of “It’s a Disaster,” whose vegan-friendly brunch is interrupted by the detonation of some dirty bombs a few miles away.

Instead of feeling freed by their impending doom—save science teacher Hedy (America Ferrera), who knows better than anyone the fate that awaits them and opts to spend her remaining hours cooking homemade ecstasy—everyone seems instead to be intent on maintaining a certain lifestyle. Tracy (Julia Stiles) refuses to let tardy friends into the house to teach them a lesson about punctuality, leaving them to expire on the front porch. And just because they are all facing eventual paralysis and death doesn’t mean that revelations about extramarital affairs don’t still hurt.

Endlessly quotable and hilariously deadpan, the movie benefits from its cast of mostly unknowns—save for David Cross, Ferrera, and Stiles—and their seemingly endless variations on navel-gazing selfishness. “If I didn’t want to be left out, I wouldn’t be a vegan,” Lexi says when she finds out Tracy has adjusted a stew to be meatless, and that’s a perfect summation of the happy oblivion that the characters are insulated by. For brunch, these men and women would be unbearable, but as companions for what may be the end of the world they’re oddly comforting. After all, who can panic if one of the group asks if he could swap poisoned Merlot for a white wine instead?

Critic’s Score: A
Directed by Todd Berger
Cast by Hannah Cooper
Starring Julia Stiles, David Cross, America Ferrera, Rachel Boston