Tim Lippe has no idea what he's in for when he's sent to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent his company at an annual insurance convention, where he soon finds himself under the "guidance" of three convention veterans.
Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his widowed mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his unhappily married brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife.
Bi-polar mall security guard Ronnie Barnhardt is called into action to stop a flasher from turning shopper's paradise into his personal peep show. But when Barnhardt can't bring the culprit to justice, a surly police detective, is recruited to close the case.
When seasoned comedian George Simmons learns of his terminal, inoperable health condition, his desire to form a genuine friendship causes him to take a relatively green performer under his wing as his opening act.
Tim Lippe (Helms) was the guy people always thought would go places but then he just ... didn't. He's been living in über-sleepy Brown Valley, Wisconsin his whole life, still "pre-engaged" to his 7th grade teacher Macy Vanderhei (Weaver), while selling insurance to protect other people's dreams. But now, Tim's stalled life is about to get a kick-start because, for the first time in his 34 years, he's headed to a "major" metropolis - Cedar Rapids, Iowa - where he must try to save his company at a do-or-die insurance convention that, for him, will be entirely unconventional. From the minute he checks into his hotel with his ancient American Tourister and cummerbund money belt, it's clear Tim has no idea how the modern world really works. He is soon smitten with seductive Nebraskan insurance agent Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Heche) and awed by his experienced roommates, the straight-shooting Ronald Wilkes (Whitlock Jr.) and the suspicious Dean Zeigler (Reilly). Disheartened when he comes ... Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Isiah Whitlock Jr.'s character Ronald Wilke references the character Omar from the TV show The Wire (2002). He played the character State Sen. R. Clayton 'Clay' Davis on the TV series. According to Whitlock, the 'Wire' references were in the script before he was cast, and they decided to keep them in place as an in-joke for fans of both Whitlock and his former show. See more »
When Tim is on the rock-climbing wall, his competitors are alongside him; when Dean Ziegler remarks how high up Tim is (which causes Tim to panic), all of Tim's competitors are suddenly gone. See more »
One of the reasons I love Brown Valley so much is that when you do business here, chances are good you know the person you're dealing with.
See more »
During the closing credits, the main characters tell (dumb) jokes at the cottage, and a commercial for their new insurance company is shown. See more »
My first 2011 film. It's a pretty unambitious comedy, but it survives because of a fantastic cast. Too fantastic, really. I have to wonder what drew them to this rather middling material. Ed Helms (of The Office and The Daily Show) stars as a sheltered insurance salesman from a small town in northern Wisconsin who is drafted by his boss (Stephen Root) to go to an insurance conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He's pretty inexperienced with life outside his own little bubble, and he gets led astray by troublemaker John C. Reilly. The film also co-stars Isaiah Whitlock, Jr. (who co-starred in HBO's The Wire, a series for which the character espouses a lot of love), Anne Heche (extremely good
probably the only good thing I've ever seen her done), Sigourney
Weaver, Alia Shawkat (of the TV series (not the rap group) Arrested Development) and Kurtwood Smith (of That 70s Show and RoboCop). I wanted to see this one because of its Midwestern setting. Part of me was afraid that it would be Hollywood making fun of Midwesterners, but it's pretty gentle. Helms may play a sheltered small-town guy, but it's just him (Reilly's character is from Steven's Point, WI, and he's not a rube; he is a drunk, though). The film actually has a lot of affection for the Midwest, and it has a lot of heart.
18 of 28 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?