MOVIE REVIEW: Rapture-Palooza

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Film: Rapture-Palooza
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Craig Robinson
Directed by: Paul Middleditch

Let’s say that at some point in the near future the rapture happens and you find yourself amongst those left behind on Earth. A solid chunk of the world’s population disappeared in the blink of an eye and now you, along with anyone else you know who may still be roaming the planet, are left to journey on without any hope of salvation. Plagues occur, the antichrist is born, and no matter what you do, there is no way you can join those who chose the route of Christianity, so what do you do? If Chris Matheson’s script for Rapture-Palooza is any kind of guide, the answer is simple: Do your best to keep on living.

Rapture-Palooza is a new comedy from director Paul Middleditch starring Anna Kendrick, John Francis Daley, and Craig Robinson. The story picks up in the time not long after the rapture has taken place. Lindsey (Kendrick) and Ben (Daley) are twenty-somethings trying to maintain some semblance of the world they used to know with plans for future entrepreneurship and talk of potentially having a family, but their lives are soon turned upside down when Linsdey catches the eye of the antichrist (Craig Robinson). Faced with eight hours to decide if she spends eternity with the antichrist or has everyone she loves killed in exchange for her freedom, Lindsey and Ben devise a plan to defeat the antichrist before times run out.

I love comedies that are not afraid to push the envelope, but what I love even more are comedies that push the envelope without using it as a crutch for all its humor. At first Rapture-Palooza fits into the latter category quite well. The setup is genuinely funny, and though not every post-rapture gag works, the funny far outweighs the dull. However, once the character of Beast (Robinson) is introduced, the film quickly becomes a one-note sex joke that never inspires more than a chuckle. It’s not the fault of anyone on screen however, as they deliver the lines they didn’t write as best they can and react as they see fit. If anything is to blame it’s a Matheson’s script, whose second have feels less than complete. It’s as if they started production and realized the story would only take 70-minutes to tell, and instead of thickening the plot opted to over-indulge in sexual one-liners. The result of this is sequences that offer generally funny premises, but whose insistence upon beating punchlines into the viewer ultimately makes the whole thing rather unappealing.

Rapture-Palooza is the kind of movie you almost hate to see because you know the ingredients are better than the end results. While it will most certainly piss off conservatives, there is very little (if any) substance to be found. I found myself trying desperately to love this film, and try as I might the final product simply does not offer that much worthy of praise. A brilliant setup surrounded by an immense pile of hit-and-miss jokes that rarely hit the heights of comedy the premise leads you to believe.

Almost everything about Rapture-Palooza could have been done better, but still I am happy to have seen such a story brought to life in the first place. Maybe one day someone will nail the rapture-comedy formula, but for now Rapture-Palooza is an acceptable, albeit forgettable entry into the VOD comedy market.

Score: C

Review written by: James Shotwell (Twitter)

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • revrocky210

    [Just saw the following on the worldwide web. Any reaction?]

    Obama Supports a Rapture Book !

    Sixty million copies
    of “Left Behind” books have set new sales records. But Barack Obama
    quietly supports a different “Rapture” book, one that those
    mass-marketers hate!
    As evangelicals know, the
    Left-Behind-promoted “Rapture to heaven” is an imminent, secret coming
    of Christ conveniently occurring before the approaching “Tribulation”
    (a.k.a. Antichrist’s global reign of terror) so that “genuine”
    Christians will be safely in heaven before the Book of Revelation’s
    disasters begin. And they’re constantly told that their escapist
    “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” (hereafter: PTR) is Biblical and 2000 years
    old.
    Aware that no official theology or organized church before
    1830 had ever taught the PTR, one historian began focusing years ago on
    Britain and various individuals that had been suggested as possible
    originators of the PTR.
    Unlike other prophecy researchers, he
    did on-site research throughout Britain and laboriously went through
    hard-to-locate works of all of those British writers to find out who
    indeed was first to use words and phrases such as “rapture,” “imminent,”
    “coming for,” “coming with,” “Antichrist,” etc. He was shocked to run
    across evidence that a young Scottish woman was the actual PTR
    originator, that London preacher Edward Irving obtained it from her, and
    that John Darby (long assumed to be the “father” of the system
    springing from the PTR) wasn’t original on any important aspect of Bible
    prophecy!
    Wondering how Obama is involved in all this? Not a
    few see him as either the Antichrist or someone who’s preparing the way
    for that global dictator.
    So in a sense Obama’s anti-Christian
    and anti-American strategy has been giving support to the now-growing
    anti-PTR view – the followers of which have learned about the PTR’s
    bizarre, 183-year-old, covered up history and are now prepping to
    survive during Antichrist’s 3.5-year reign!
    The nonfiction book
    Obama actually supports (without realizing it) is “The Rapture Plot” by
    journalist/historian Dave MacPherson. For a taste of his original
    research Google “Famous Rapture Watchers,” “Pretrib Rapture Secrets,”
    “Pretrib Rapture Politics,” “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty” and “Scholars
    Weigh My Research.”
    Since MacPherson is into activism as much as
    academics, young persons (who insist on facts and not opinions)
    appreciate his name-naming, tell-all approach.
    To get his unique, highly endorsed book “The Rapture Plot,” call 800.643.4645.

  • solomru

    My reaction is: More Crazy. Sigh.