Starring: David Cross, Julia Stiles, America Ferrera, Rachel Boston, Kevin M Brennan, Jeff Grace, Erinn Hayes, Blaise Miller, Todd Berger
Written and Directed By: Todd Berger
I watched this “underrated gem” off the recommendation of a fellow critic, who suggested that this is a career-best performance from David Cross. Not that it says a lot, because he litters his career with Alvin and the Chipmunks films and some Scary Movie sequels. Cross never challenges himself as an actor, so to get a “career best” out of him couldn’t have been hard. He’s used here in a much more subdued role, not as comic relief. Many times, he seems like the smartest character in the room.
This is one of those “one location” movies, where a group of people stand around and talk for an hour or so. The “twist” here is that these people are gathered, on what might be the eve of the end of the world. They find out that dirty bombs have been set off downtown, and the radiation/chemical gasses/whatever is coming their way. The group of friends, of which Cross’s character is new to (he just started dating Julia Stiles’s character), are all written like your group of friends. They all discuss what might happen, try to formulate plans, but no one really knows what to do, nor do they have a skillset to help anyone.
There are conversations about the right way to say “duct tape”, lots of talk about drugs, who slept with who, and who might have set off the dirty bomb. At the end, an unbelievable twist with Cross’s character ruins the movie. The most levelheaded guy in the group suddenly is a whack job? I didn’t believe it, and I took off a few grade points because of it. Hated the ending. The rest of the movie was alright, but it didn’t really make me laugh out loud. It just was a nice way to spend 90 minutes. Then the ending made me angry, so we have this grade. Life is all about choices, a lesson this film covertly tries to teach us. Berger made the choice to write that ending, and then direct that ending, so he will learn to live with a C+.
FINAL GRADE: C+