A short opening sequence involving 6 bowling pins falling towards the polished floor of a lane isn’t, unfortunately, symbolic of what’s ahead in “Rapture-Palooza” – unless, of course, the pre-credits bowling score is suggestive of director Paul Middleditch striking out big time!
The latest in a string of end-of-times flicks – a roster that also includes flashier, more expensive studio fare like “This is the End” and “World War Z” – “Rapture-Palooza” takes a wink in the mickey urinal, satirizing the ‘Rapture’ in the same way 2010’s “Zombieland” made funny of the undead movies. Unlike Ruben Fleischer’s ingenious coffin dodgers cack, “Rapture-Palooza” doesn’t seem to have much of an idea how a good lampooning works.
A religious apocalypse has hit, resulting in the removal of many from Earth (relocated to Heaven), the transformation of others into hellish rogues, and quite a few who’ve simply stayed put.
Lindsey (Anna Kendrick) is one of the survivors, still on Earth – but dodging flaming boulders, blood showers and demons on a daily basis.
One thing leads to another and Lindsey catches the eye of the sleaziest scoundrel in town, also the anti-Christ (Craig Robinson), who immediately sets up a night of sex (the dude mentions his keenness to get up into the woman’s ‘vagina’ about twenty times throughout the movie; sick bucket not included in the price of admission, you may wish to bring one from home) – for them.
But, of course, when Lindsey turns up at the anti-Christ’s mansion that evening, she – and her accomplices, boyfriend Ben (John Francis Daley), his father (Rob Corddry) and others – isn’t there to cave into the bad man’s wishes, but kill him.
The always-engaging Anna Kendrick – but I gotta ask, ‘Oscar Nominated’ Anna Kendrick, what are you doing in this!?- cleans up this fairly smeared windscreen of a film with a likeable, engaging and I gotta say, sexy performance. The stout support cast, which also includes actor (and writer) John Francis Daley (“Bones”) , Tom Lennon (as a possessed neighbour with a lawn-mowing fetish), John Michael Higgins (of all the Christopher Guest flicks) and Craig Robinson (also in “This is the End”, funnily enough), also do their best to squeeze laughs out of a dried-up sponge of a comedy. Sadly, the ramshackle, unfunny script – by “Bill & Ted” alum Chris Matheson (“Bill & Ted” writer Ed Solomon serves as a producer, too) – undoes the good work of the cast.
The shoddy effects (they’re truly woeful!) suggest a budget on the lower side, but even that’s no excuse for a plot that lacks satisfying silliness, thought and smart social satire. A good screenplay can always make up for a lack of pennies.
Not the end of the world, though. These things happen… I guess it’s just…wait! What is that!? Is that a thundercloud full of red rain about to pounder down upon the weathered office, here!?*
* Sorry, that line’s about as unfunny as the ones you’ll find in the movie.