Weekend Trailer Roundup: Rapture-Palooza

This time on the Weekend Trailer Roundup, it’s Paul Middleditch’s upcoming comedy Rapture-Palooza.

There’s a line that ends this trailer: “I saw it coming, and I still laughed.” A character in a cheap-looking, cobbled together film watches someone in a cheap-looking, cobbled together TV show and remarks that comedy doesn’t have to be particularly high-brow. Something as simple as a dumpy guy on a toilet still has merit, and is still worth a genuine chuckle or two.

In the context of Rapture-Palooza, this seems less like a thoughtful discussion of comedy, and more like a cheap attempt to justify what will almost certainly be an unwatchable film. Nearly every gag in the trailer is weak, predictable, and anchored by some truly awful CGI. The characters, too, feel like cardboard cut-outs- the perfectly milquetoast couple, the brash, cartoony villain, various supporting characters that seem plain at first glance, but will act in bizarre and unbelievable ways solely for the purpose of delivering some flat joke.

The “disaster comedy” is one of the newer trends to hit theaters, starting with last year’s Seeking a Friend for the End of the World and moving into 2013’s This is the End and It’s a Disaster. Rapture-Palooza seems so lifeless and formulaic as to suggest that it was churned out as fast as possible to take advantage of this little subgenre while it’s still hot. That thrown-together quality lends the trailer a particular Friedberg/Seltzer vibe (directors of such visionary works as Date Movie, Epic Movie and Disaster Movie) that’s hard to shake off. Films (and I hesitate to use the word “film”) like that exist solely to turn a profit, and while Rapture-Palooza may earn a decent buck, this trailer is all but a critical death knell.

It should be said, however, that the segments of the trailer that feature Craig Robinson are much more palatable than those without him. Robinson has a knack for adding goofy charm to any project, no matter how profoundly stupid it might be.

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