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Rapture-Palooza: Film Review

The Bottom Line

An amusing premise yields few yuks.

Opens

Friday, June 7 (Lionsgate)

Cast

Anna Kendrick, John Francis Daley, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, John Michael Higgins, Ana Gasteyer, Thomas Lennon, Calum Worthy, Paul Scheer, Tyler Labine, Ken Jeong

Director

Paul Middleditch

Anna Kendrick and Craig Robinson star in the Paul Middleditch movie, which suggests that the Apocalypse will be nothing like a Michael Bay film.

The End Times are little more than an endless bummer of nuisance plagues and slacker wraiths in Paul Middleditch's Rapture-Palooza, a comedy about life after the Rapture whose occasional chuckles aren't nearly proportionate to the level of comic talent in the cast. Likely to be withdrawn from theaters in the Biblical "twinkling of an eye," the film will likely ride its actors' name recognition to mid-afternoon slots on basic cable.

Anna Kendrick, so winning in supporting roles in Up in the Air, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and elsewhere, is given little chance to shine as Lindsey, a Seattle twentysomething who wasn't devout enough to be spirited to Heaven on Judgment Day. The movie takes a matter-of-fact attitude toward prophesied horrors (most of which quickly become less horrific than exasperating as the thousand-year reign gets going) that was likely modeled on Shaun of the Dead, but Chris Matheson's script has none of that film's savviness about genre or sense of surprise.

When their food cart is destroyed by a flaming meteorite, Lindsey and boyfriend Ben (John Francis Daley) grudgingly go with Ben's father (Rob Corddry) to seek job opportunities on the estate of the Antichrist (Craig Robinson). Robinson's Antichrist -- he prefers "The Beast" -- is no more otherworldly than Silvio Berlusconi: a very powerful man surrounded by flunkies who indulge his every whim. When he takes a shine to virginal Lindsey, insisting that she join him later for dinner and, er, "the Beast with two backs," she and Ben hatch a plan to kidnap him and put this Apocalypse nonsense to rest.

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The particulars and pacing of this scheme are pretty dull, though, and until the film's final scenes the script does nothing to exploit the saving-the-world stakes involved. (When it does embrace the whole Heaven-Vs.-Hell business, things get very weird very quickly. Suffice to say that God is a whiner when his plans are disrupted.) But scenes at the Beast's mansion let Robinson get the picture's biggest laughs, balancing his character's rampant lust with a half-hearted attempt to keep things classy until he gets his conquest in bed.

Production Companies: Mosaic Media Group, Mimran Schur Pictures

Cast: Anna Kendrick, John Francis Daley, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, John Michael Higgins, Ana Gasteyer, Thomas Lennon, Calum Worthy, Paul Scheer, Tyler Labine, Ken Jeong

Director: Paul Middleditch

Screenwriter: Chris Matheson

Producer: Ed Solomon

Executive producers: Chris Matheson, David Mimran, Craig Robinson, Jordan Schur

Director of photography: Robert C. New

Production designer: Joe Cabrera

Music: Joachim Horsley

Costume designer: Kerry Weinrauch

Editor: Melissa Bretherton

R, 84 minutes