It's a Disaster

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
It's a Disaster Movie Poster Image
Dark end-of-the-world comedy is witty but mature.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Not a message movie, but it does explore issues related to marital happiness and unconditional friendship.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No one comes off particularly well -- although, for all their flaws, the two married couples overcome revelations of adultery to reconcile under extreme circumstances.


An unknown invasion has released a toxin that's sure to kill people. A husband threatens to punch another man.


Several references to sex and adultery. It turns out a married couple had committed adultery with their best friends, another married couple. One couple has sex (they're shown before and after but not during) and makes a jokey proposition to someone to engage in a threesome. A woman makes a joke that two other women were upstairs exchanging sexual favors.


Strong language throughout, including "f--k," "bitch," "a--hole," "p--y," and more.


Brands mentioned or featured include Apple, AT&T, a PT Cruiser, Adderall, Volkswagen, TGI Friday's. X-Men and other comic books are also referenced a bunch of times.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Lots of drinking of wine, scotch, whiskey, and beer. A woman recounts how she and her husband spent the previous night doing cocaine and partying. A chemist makes a homebrew of Ecstasy with a bunch of prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals in the house.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that It's a Disaster is a dark comedy about four couples who come together for brunch just as the world is about to end. Since most of the characters are in their early 30s, there's lots of mature conversation, complete with strong language (including "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and more), as well as innuendo and discussion of sex, drugs, adultery, and marriage. As circumstances become catastrophic, all the relationships are strained, one couple has sex (viewers only see them in bed covered by sheets), someone makes a home brew of the drug Ecstasy, and one man looks for makeshift weapons. Because of the intense subject matter and relationship themes, It's a Disaster is best for adults and mature teens.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywonder dove November 23, 2013

Comedy? Not my taste...

It's a Disaster was an okay watch, but could've definitely done better. The comedy was not funny and I found it rather boring with couples constantly... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byBestPicture1996 October 3, 2013

A hipster apocalypse!

"It's a Disaster" is for sure a premise movie, but it's not too drawn out with its brief 90 minute run time. It's a very diverse set of... Continue reading

What's the story?

IT's A DISASTER is a dark comedy about an unforgettable brunch. Tracy (Julia Stiles), a doctor and the perpetually single friend of her group, is on her third date with Glen (David Cross), a history teacher. She's taking him along to a long-established couples' brunch with three other duos: responsible married homeowners Emma (Erinn Hayes) and Pete (Blaise Miller); their married musician besties, Lexi (Rachel Boston) and Buck (Kevin M. Brennan); and perpetually engaged chemistry teacher Hedy (America Ferrera) and her comic-book-obsessed fiance, Shane (Jeff Grace). Before the brunch begins, the guys want to check out the University of Texas game, but the TVs don't work. And Shane is desperate to figure out whether he's won an eBay auction for an X-Men issue, but the Internet is out -- what's happening? Soon a neighbor in a Hazmat suit comes over to explain that the city is under siege, and a biological weapon has been released into the atmosphere. From then on, brunch turns into not just a figurative disaster, but a literal one as well.

Is it any good?

Writer-director Todd Berger managed to create a sharply crafted character study under the microscope of a familiar social situation that quickly spirals completely out of control. Cross, for once, plays the straight man -- the outsider trying to come to grips with the emotional baggage and off-putting dynamics of this clique of brunch-eating best friends. Stiles, who's usually a supporting character, shines as the single but "together" friend who can't stand how her friends assume that she ends relationships for no good reason.

Every couple gets a turn in the spotlight, and it becomes more and more obvious that the unknown disaster taking place is radically changing everyone in the house. When the fifth couple, always late to brunch, shows up at the door, Tracy refuses to let them in, because they've already barricaded the doors, and really, they should have been more considerate about punctuality over the years. Buck and Lexi, musicians who apparently have an open marriage, take the time to make love and strum their guitar and glockenspiel. And Ferrera gives a physical comedy performance as Hedy, who uses her chemistry skills to mix up a batch of homemade Ecstasy, because if there was ever a time to get high, it's when the end of the world is nigh. For a one-set dark comedy, It's a Disaster is a surprisingly entertaining, play-like ensemble film.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about dark comedies, and what the subgenre entails: making light of otherwise somber topics (in this case, everyone's imminent death). What are some other dark comedies? Who do they appeal to?

  • Why are disaster movies so fascinating? How is It's a Disaster different from ones that have more violence and an obvious villain?

  • What kinds of relationships and people do each of the couples personify -- from the one on their third date to the engaged-but-not-married duo to the two very different married couples?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love offbeat comedy

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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