×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Rapture-Palooza’

With:
Craig Robinson, Anna Kendrick, John Francis Daley, Rob Corddry, Ana Gasteyer, John Michael Higgins, Calum Worthy, Jesse Camacho, Tom Lennon, Ken Jeong, Bjorn Yearwood, Paul Scheer, Mike O’Connell, Adrianna Costa, Tyler Labine.

The latest in a string of audience-of-none, end-is-nigh indie dramedies, “Rapture-Palooza” strains to find comedy in the book of Revelation, tracking a contempo young couple besieged by CG locusts, rains of blood and a horny Beast obsessed with booty sex. More irrelevant than irreverent, the unworthy script from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’s” Chris Matheson might play to apocalyptically stoned college kids, but offers nothing in the way of broader social satire, suggesting the waste of a perfectly good Reckoning — not to mention the talents of a cast far funnier than the doom-and-gloom results suggest.

Pushing-30 teens Lindsey (Anna Kendrick) and Ben (John Francis Daley) are bowling when the Rapture strikes. The devout are whisked straight to heaven, while the rest are left to fend for themselves in a world more or less unchanged, if you can look past the meteor showers and zombie-like wraiths. The two dream of opening a food stand and getting hitched, but they worry about the second coming of God (“The Hangover’s” Ken Jeong) and a self-appointed Antichrist named Earl, aka “the Beast” (Craig Robinson, also in Sony’s upcoming Rapture farce “This Is the End”).

While severely limited by a tight visual-effects budget, director Paul Middleditch does this high-concept comedy no favors by shooting the Vancouver-based, Seattle-set scenario like a glorified viral video, miscalculating that a cast composed almost entirely of comics will supply enough laughs for audiences to overlook the lackluster production values. Their off-the-cuff-sounding repartee does find traction in a few spots, as when Ben’s dad (Rob Corddry) gets caught in a cycle of snippy insults with a wraith guard (Paul Scheer) outside the Beast’s estate. Too often, however, the actors are left stranded, allowed to embarrass themselves while riffing along vaguely raunchy tangents.

As Lindsey’s mom, Ana Gasteyer has only one function: to wail about being rejected by heaven. As her husband, John Michael Higgins gets a few pratfalls before being crushed by a stray meteor. Without providing the ensemble with anything especially amusing to do, Middleditch almost seems to be counting on the viewer to recognize a normally funny actor, say to themselves, “Oh right, he was really funny in that other movie,” and enjoy a nostalgic chuckle on the fumes of that previous project. How else to explain the grievous treatment of Robinson, reduced here to slavering over Kendrick’s character while the rest of the cast scrambles to protect her anal virginity.

Robinson pantomimes his crude plan of attack and proceeds in slow-motion seduction mode, offering up a sultry, sub-Marvin Gaye piano ditty while extending the last half-hour of this taxing comedy into one long would-be rape gag. Jokes seeded in the opening reel circle back at the end, but instead of paying off in clever ways, they reveal how clumsy the whole enterprise has been. If God came down tomorrow and took all the good movies up to heaven, all copies of “Rapture-Palooza” (along with the entire Rob Schneider oeuvre) would surely be left behind.

Film Review: 'Rapture-Palooza'

Reviewed online, Anchorage, Alaska, June 6, 2013. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 85 MIN.

Production: A Lionsgate release presented with Mimran Schur Pictures of a Mosaic/Lionsgate/Mimran Schur production. Produced by Jimmy Miller, David Householter, Ed Solomon. Executive Producers, Matt Kaplan, M. Riley, Jordan Schur, David Mimran, Craig Robinson, Chris Matheson.

Crew: Directed by Paul Middleditch. Screenplay, Chris Matheson. Camera (color), Robert C. New; editor, Melissa Bretherton; music, Joachim Horsley; production designer, Joe Cabrera; art director, Andy Amoroso; set decorator, Tonya Soules; costume designer, Kerry Weinrauch; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS), Tad Nazar; sound supervisor, Mathew Waters; re-recording mixer, Waters; special effects coordinator, Don Besse; visual effects supervisors, Russell Fell, Mike Uguccioni; visual effects, Fell Visual Effects, XY&Z Visual Effects; stunt coordinator, Ernest Jackson; associate producer, Robyn Marshall; assistant director, Ken Shane; casting, Michelle Morris.

With: Craig Robinson, Anna Kendrick, John Francis Daley, Rob Corddry, Ana Gasteyer, John Michael Higgins, Calum Worthy, Jesse Camacho, Tom Lennon, Ken Jeong, Bjorn Yearwood, Paul Scheer, Mike O’Connell, Adrianna Costa, Tyler Labine.

More Film

  • Clark Gable III

    Clark Gable's Grandson, Who Hosted 'Cheaters,' Found Dead at 30

    Clark Gable’s grandson, Clark Gable III, died on Friday morning at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Variety confirmed with the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office. He was 30. “It’s is with an extremely heavy heart we say goodbye to my beautiful son Clark,” his mother wrote on Instagram. “He passed this morning. I will always [...]

  • You Were Never Really Here If

    Film Independent's Spirit Awards Fly the Flag for Indie Film

    As the 2018 awards season marches slowly into its final days, only a handful of honors remain undistributed after some of the most volatile and contentious campaigns in years. Front-runners have come and gone in one major category after the next, as each guild and critics group announced different winners than its predecessors, demolishing expectations [...]

  • A Quiet Place

    John Krasinski Returning to Direct 'A Quiet Place' Sequel

    John Krasinski is returning to direct the untitled sequel to Paramount’s horror hit “A Quiet Place.” Krasinski revealed the news Friday via an Instagram post that said “…time to go back. #PartII 5-15-20”; the post showed the red lights that became synonymous with the alien threats in the first movie. More Reviews Album Review: Lil Pump's [...]

  • Red Carpet Guide to the Bowtie

    Five Tips to a Perfect Bow Tie on Oscar Night

    Warren Alfie Baker is always on the hunt for just the right bow tie. He’s a Hollywood stylist who helps keep such clients as Lucas Hedges, Norman Reedus and Harry Shum Jr. looking sharp. “It seems like the easiest thing to sort out, but so many mistakes can be made,” Baker tells Variety. More Reviews [...]

  • Francois Ozon's 'The Grace Of God'

    Francois Ozon's 'By The Grace Of God' Delivers Strong B.O. Opening in France

    Rolling off its triumph at the Berlin Film Festival where it won the Silver Bear, François Ozon’s Catholic church sexual abuse drama By “The Grace Of God” had a strong theatrical bow in France where it sold nearly 50,000 tickets on 290 screens on Feb. 20, its first day out One of the best opening [...]

  • David Oyelowo Peter Rabbit 2

    David Oyelowo Joins the Cast of Sony's 'Peter Rabbit' Sequel (EXCLUSIVE)

    Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo is set to join the cast of Sony Pictures’ “Peter Rabbit 2,” the live-action hybrid sequel to the 2018 family hit, sources tell Variety. He joins Rose Byrne and Domhnall Gleeson, who are returning from the first film, as is James Corden in the voice of the mischievous Peter Rabbit. [...]

  • Luke Wilson Zombieland 2

    Luke Wilson Joins 'Zombieland' Sequel (EXCLUSIVE)

    Luke Wilson is set to join the ensemble of the upcoming “Zombieland” sequel, sources tell Variety. Wilson will star alongside Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin in “Zombieland 2.” As previously reported, Zoey Deutch, Thomas Middleditch, and Rosario Dawson are also boarding the cast. More Reviews Album Review: Lil Pump's 'Harverd Dropout' [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content