Like The Rapture itself, which let’s be honest is supposed to happen every couple of years, Rapture Palooza comes at the same time as a slurry of other comedic apocalypses. First we had Franco et al’s This Is The End and then came Wright/Peg/Frosts’ The World’s End. So with all hell breaking loose where does Rapture Palooza fit in?
When the rapture takes half of humanity up to heaven the rest of the world is expected to get on with life. Two people determined to make the most of it are Lindsey (Anna Kendrick) and her boyfriend Ben (John Francis Daley). But when their planned sandwich cart is obliterated, Lindsey finds herself attracting the attention of the Anti-Christ, who goes by the name of Beast (Craig Robinson). So agreeing to a date with Beast, Lindsey and Ben put in to plan bringing about his downfall.
At first glance Rapture Palooza has a plethora of good ideas. It has all the ingredients for a funny end of the world; locusts that scream “SUFFER” as they bite, nagging mothers being sent back to earth from heaven, unsanitary blood rain, insulting crows and pot smoking minions of Satan. All well and very Kevin Smith’s Dogma, but it doesn’t come together. At all.
Each scene feels like a little sketch unto itself rather than part of the overall narrative. The first few minutes promise something funny but once the attempted story tries to kick-in the jokes, as is want with R-rated movies, fall on the misconception that a well placed F-bomb makes something funny. It doesn’t, at least not unless the joke was funny to begin with.
Robinson, who also acts as a producer here, seems happy to phone in his performance. Leaving behind any semblance of humour he gave in This Is The End in exchange for repetitive rap and little else. Although to his credit there is a moment when he and his son Little Beast make their grand entrance which is scary in so far as it feels like Will and Jaden Smith walking on stage to the actual rapture. Kendrick, frankly the best thing in everything she’s cast, is wasted here. Asked to do little more than stand around looking all apple-pie-cute, she’s never given the chance to bring some of that natural charm and talent. But the real kicker to Rapture Palooza comes as Ken Jeong arrives as God. That’s right, one of the most irritating screen presences in recent memory is playing the Almighty himself and his soul purpose is to get into a less than amusing fist fight with Satan.
At one point Kendrick points out “This is a pretty unusual thing to be watching, when you think about it”. Unfortunately this sentiment is true throughout Rapture Palooza’s running time.