* (out of four)
Chicagoans should really take “Rapture-Palooza” personally.
After the Anti-Christ (Chicago native executive producer Craig Robinson of next week's rapture movie, “This is the End”) blows up Chicago, Mr. House (Rob Corddry) argues that people not yanked into heaven during the rapture have plenty of reason to celebrate our city's demise: “the food, the weather and the people.” Hey, man--lay off our food and our people.
In reality, though, everyone should take issue with this tone-deaf comedy, conspicuously opening only at Woodfield (and on demand). In a role she likely regretted accepting immediately, the ever-cute Anna Kendrick stars as Lindsey, who becomes the object of the Anti-Christ's affection in a Seattle now sparsely populated with evil, non-threatening pothead monsters (including Paul Scheer and Tyler Labine) and the remaining, non-saved humans.
There's never any indication why Lindsey and her bland boyfriend Ben (John Francis Daley, channeling early, smug Ryan Reynolds) weren't spared the onslaught of blood rainstorms and locusts who scream, “Suffer!” Sure, the couple didn't go to church, but a late development about Lindsey's conservativeness should have been enough to land this nice girl with the good life upstairs.
“Rapture-Palooza” never achieves any panic or momentum, and that's not just because the film opens with incessant voiceover from Lindsey, over-describing what's happening and making bad jokes like commenting about the locusts, “If you're wondering, they were impervious to most bug sprays.” Writer Chris Matheson, who thinks profanity-tossing crows are hilarious, co-wrote the “Bill & Ted” movies and “Mom and Dad Save the World” and hasn't done much since, outside Eddie Murphy's “Imagine That” and “The Goofy Movie.”
With all the comic timing of the awful “A Good Old Fashioned Orgy” and “I Love You, Beth Cooper,” “Rapture-Palooza” tries to be both goofy and raunchy. What it never becomes is funny.
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