Raining fiery vulgarity on humanity.
In the very immediate future, the end is nigh. The rapture strikes suddenly, unexpectedly and with pure comic mockery. The believers are called to Heaven and all others remain on Earth awaiting judgment while being assaulted relentlessly with the impending warnings of the Revelation, now a reality.
Fiery meteors fall from the sky randomly killing fathers and friends. Blood rains from above, making it very difficult to drive. Bug spray impervious locusts with devilish little faces scamper around constantly screaming, “Suffer!” to the damned. Talking crows with abusive Tourette’s-like rants engage in a non-stop verbal assault. Murderous and destructive wraiths walk the streets killing at random. And, the Beast, yes, the Anti-Christ, arises to take control of the remains of humanity.
Reno 911 alum, Thomas Lennon, has a fantastic cameo as a risen-from-the-dead zombie intent on mowing his lawn for eternity rather than eating brains. And, John Michael Higgins (A Might Wind) has a brief but entertaining appearance as the father of the film’s protagonist. One of the great all-time cameos comes from Ken Jeong (The Hangover), but that’s not one to be spoiled here. The story really gets moving when we discover that Earl Gundy (Craig Robinson) is the Anti-Christ, or the Beast, who settles in Seattle after decimating the world with nuclear weaponry, now preparing for his inevitable battle with Jesus.
But our heroes, Lindsey (Anna Kendrick from Up in the Air) and Ben (John Francis Daley of Bones) continue on confronting the apocalypse with 21st Century apathy. They watch the rapture on television and nonchalantly observe the world die around them. Even the rapture-bringing wraiths find themselves caught up in the mundane, turning to weed rather than rapture. Ben’s dad, Mr. House (Rob Corddry), is a sold-his-soul-to-the-Devil survivor of the apocalypse constantly justifying his allegiance to the Anti-Christ.
Ben and Lindsey dream of making their own way in the post-apocalyptic world without selling their souls … until one day when the destruction of their sandwich cart drives them to seek help from Early Gundy, the Devil himself. In half of a Hot Tub Time Machine reunion, Robinson and Corddry are the comedic heart of the movie. And the Beast inevitably becomes infatuated with Lindsey, whom he proceeds to woo with a litany of sex and phallic jokes. To avoid marrying the Beast, Lindsey and Ben must turn their apathy into action. They take on the Beast.
The movie is unforgivingly vulgar and crude, but it works for what it is. Surprising and fun, Rapture-Palooza takes on a serious topic, but never takes itself too seriously (or at all)! It never quite reaches hilarity, but it has moments that are very funny, and it is entertaining from start to finish.
If given a chance, this could become a Big Lebowski or Bill and Ted-type staple to a community of inebriated viewers with quotable lines like, “You go up there to be judged, you don’t do the judging,” and “Can I get you anything … hot dog, corn on the cob, sausage, other [phallic]-shaped food?” and “I kick so much ass my feet need condoms” and “the prodigal a—hole returns” and “I laser beamed him, I beamed Jesus, I’m so sorry.”
The movie’s climax is unexpected, uniquely original and sure to deeply offend all believers of Christian dogma in ways that Kevin Smith would surely envy.
Review by Gordon Shelly, special to Influx Magazine