It seems like a normal day, but then the Rapture happens. While not something that’s particularly well-known in the UK, the Rapture is popular with the more fervent evangelical sections of US Christianity. It basically says that when the end of the world begins, the righteous will be whisked off to heaven, leaving everyone else behind to deal with the apocalypse.
Lindsey (Anna Kendrick) and Ben (John Francis Daley) are a couple trying to get on with their lives now that the Rapture has happened. They try to keep things as normal as possible, even if there are profanity-spewing crows, locusts that want you to suffer and a zombie (Thomas Lennon) living next door. To make things worse, Satan (Craig Robinson) has taken over and is living not too far away. Can Lindsey and Ben stop him, and should they even bother?
Rapture-Palooza is almost impressive for having taken a great idea and excellent cast and then completely ballsing it up. A comedy set after the Rapture is a ripe target, but while it knows what ought to be funny, it seems to have no idea how to actually get any real laughs out of it. Much of the first hour feels like a series of skits, only a few of which work, while many outstay their welcome and come across as annoyingly dumb.
Part of the problem is that in trying to make the joke that everyone is just trying to get on with their lives and that the absurd has become normal for them, Lindsey and Ben become flat, tedious characters whose seeming boredom with everything quickly becomes wearing. I don’t know what they did to Kendrick and Daley, who are normally extremely shrewd comic performers, but it appears as if the director was so keen that they rein in every reaction that there’s nothing left for the comedy.
Similarly, great talent like Craig Robinson, Thomas Lennon, Rob Corddry, Tyler Labine, John Michael Higgins, Ana Gasteyer and Ken Jeong are given so little to work with you wonder why they signed up. Well, that’s not quite fair, as quite often the situation their character is involved with seems like it should be a lot of fun, but the script is so painful there’s not much they can do with it.
My suggestion is that we all forget about the film and that all those involved go back and try again. There’s so much potential here but so little of it is fulfilled.
Overall Verdict: A great idea and an extremely talented cast end up hamstrung by a script that knows what might be funny but has no idea how to get any laughs out of some great situations.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac