Even by the comedic conceit of a film that depicts Satan’s prodigy as mundane as a mere dirty-mouthed fartbag, “Rapture-Palooza,” directed by Paul Middleditch, feels a tad underwhelming. And this is said not in the sense that Craig Robinson’s dripping lewdness as the film’s ridiculous Anti-Christ doesn’t suffice to infuriated thoughts–it does, and more–what isn’t satisfying is that no matter how much sacrilegeous raunch the film capitalizes, not much laughs are returned in the end. This is not the fault of the stellar cast, fronted by the lovable Anna Kendrick (who has the best Twitter account ever), but rather the meandering script-work by Chris Matheson.
The first fifteen-minutes of the film are very much engaging, Middleditch introducing us to a post-Rapture Seattle where blood rains and meteor showers are as everyday matters as sunrise and sunsets, and stoner wraiths walk about the suburbs trying to score pot. There’s one particular point of the film where I almost believed that the film could go somewhere. Millions of people rose to Heaven and a few were abandoned on-ground; and sure enough, many of these non-believers’ ravings are timely and relevant. But the script quickly squanders this opportunity and focuses completely in introducing it’s sexy Beast, who is more like a foul-mouthed Barney mascot, if anything else than the mortal counterpart of Satan. He composes offensive ballads–like Brian McKnight (unintentionally?) once did–and mentions at least a dozen names for male and female genitalia. Vaginas, according to the lewd Anti-Christ, taste best if it’s flavored mint.
Quite simply, the film uses crudeness in the hopes of petty laughs. It works for some time, but quickly wanes out. In the span of eighty-five minutes Lindsey Lewis (Kendrick), along with his boyfriend (John Francis Daley), surrounds herself with the craziest batch of personas ever existed on cinema, and I mean this in a negative way. There’s her neurotic mother (Ana Gasteyer), her junkie “we-should-so-fucking-knife-them” brother (Calum Worthy), his beau’s sycophantic father (Rod Corddry), and, of course, the satanic goof who found her ‘rack’ mind-blowing that in eight-hours he must “stick his dick in her booty.” He sings this, too. Imagine the torture.
And then there’s Ken Jeong, whose infuriating Mr. Chow in the equally loved and hated “Hangover” films seems not enough just yet; he’s here for a fist-fight, mano-a-mano with the goofy Satan-incarnation. He’s the sort of God you expects him to be–rude, sarcastic, an unstoppable nagging-machine. It is, thus, a truly glorious moment when he and the Devil dunk themselves in a jacuzzi and there they find their terribly lame deaths–which, I guess, is what they deserved.
You don’t hate Jeong nor Robinson for portraying (figuratively) the largest douche-bag characters; you hate yourself and you hate the world. If you think you have better things to do, I strongly suggest to skip this. The end-of-the-world is much better encountered with Emma Watson (“This is the End”) and Simon Pegg (“The World’s End”).
RATING: 1.5 stars (out of 4)