It’s a Disaster! week – It’s a Disaster

Obviously with the name It’s a Disaster, this is the ideal movie to start off It’s a Disaster week. It’s a Disaster is currently available on instant Netflix.

One Line Review: Not a disaster, entertaining but not greatly so.

It's a DisasterIt’s a Disaster (2012) – Rated R

After gathering for Sunday brunch at one of their homes, four couples realize they are stranded together as the world may be coming to an end during an apocalyptic crisis. Nevertheless, they continue to deal with their various relationship issues.

What would happen if four couples were having brunch when the apocalypse began? Honestly it could look a lot like this. Writer/director Todd Berger has an excellent grasp of inter-couple dynamics.The couples are all well-realized and dysfunctional in various ways.

Tracy (Julia Stiles) brings her new boyfriend Glen (David Cross) to her regular Sunday couples brunch. The hosts are on the verge of breaking up but don’t want to tell their guests. Another couple is perpetually looking to spice up their sex life. The third couple just can’t commit. The brunch is actually for five couples but one of the couples is perpetually late (you know someone like that, don’t you?). Their arrival is perhaps the funniest moment in the movie.

The unthinkable occurs (offscreen) early in the movie. Part of the joke is that our characters are so self-absorbed that they don’t realize until fairly late in the film and even then they are in quite a bit of denial.

It’s a Disaster is extremely low key. There are very few hilarious moments, just amusing situations as things spiral out of control. The actual disaster is never shown, just gleaned from scraps of information.

Unfortunately this is also It’s a Disaster’s weakness – it’s not laugh out loud funny and not exciting. The entire film takes place at the one house. It’s a Disaster is not a disaster but it is just mildly amusing.

People Watch: Writer/director Todd Berger appears briefly as irate next door neighbor Hazmat Hal.


Arrested Development

Arrested Development (2003-2005)

This wickedly funny Emmy-winning sitcom follows the tribulations of the Bluths, a wealthy California clan gone to the dogs after paterfamilias and real estate tycoon George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor) gets busted for fraud. Now long-suffering son Michael (Jason Bateman) keeps the family business afloat as he spars with his boozy mother (Jessica Walter), vapid siblings (Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett and Tony Hale) and other wildly dysfunctional relatives.

“Remember there’s always money in the banana stand.”

Well I had intended this week to just cover some truly awful turkeys but I felt I had to digress. Netflix finally announced that they will show NEW episodes of Arrested Development in 2013 and that they will be showing exclusively on Netflix. Now it will be quite a wait but you can start by watching the first three seasons right now on Netflix.

Arrested Development features a wonderful if unwieldy ensemble cast. Jason Batemen anchors the show as everyman Michael Bluth but most of the other characters are completely off the wall. Portia de Rossi, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Jeffrey Tambor, Tony Hale, Jessica Walter, Alia Shawkat and David Cross all play quirky relatives – each one vying for attention. Everyone seems to have a different favorite character.

The wonderful ensemble extends to the frequent guest stars. Look for Liza Minnelli, Henry Winkler, Charlize Theron, Amy Poehler, Carl Weathers, Ben Stiller, Jane Lynch and many more in multi-episode story arcs.

The writing is wonderful and it is amazing that they are able to fit all nine family members in each episode. I love the runningĀ  joke where each episode has a preview of the next episode and none of those events ever occur in the next episode.

People Watch: Yes that is Ron Howard narrating each episode and look for noted terrible (yet enthusiastic) singer William Hung playing himself in two episodes .