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.
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
What happens in the Rapids may put some of Vegas to shame
Cedar Rapids is 2011's second overlooked comedy gem, with the first being the retro throwback Take Me Home Tonight. This is a subtle, funny, witty, and different film that has innocent characters, with one thing in common - their job. These characters could very well be America's second wolfpack.
I always wonder what would happen if these type of films, underrated comedies, got the same attention and recognition films like The Hangover and Pineapple Express got. Would we hear more quotes and references from these films? Would America have a different taste in humor? Would Cedar Rapids set the bar for newer comedies? It's all "would's" and "what if's." The plot: Naive insurance salesman Tim Lippe (Helms) is what some may call a "loser." He lives a quiet life, isn't the most social person, and sleeps with his old fourth grade teacher (Weaver). Tim has to attend an insurance convention in Cedar Rapids, and this will be the first time he has flown or stayed in a hotel. He believes everyone will be as nice as back home, but in fact, everyone is different and the real-world will bite Tim in the rear.
Tim stays in a suite with three people;. He meets soft-spoken, quiet-man Ronald Wilkes (Whitlock Jr.). Loud-mouth, party animal Dean Ziegler (Reilly). And married, but sweet Joan (Heche). This group of new-friends are all after one thing; an award that the manager of the convention, (Smith), will give to one representative of their company.
This is one of those rare occasions where the characters are so sweet, so innocent, and so well-developed I want to just hug them. Each character is likable in their own way. Even Ziegler, who is not a victim of his simpleton self or his own stupidity like Alan from The Hangover, is a very serious and loving guy despite his hard-partying self.
Certain films, once again referring back to The Hangover, rely on antics to carry the comedy which is perfectly fine with me. But when the antics play like a "how-far-can-we-go-type-of-comedy" the result becomes a repetitive and unenjoyable comedy. Cedar Rapids has antics, but not antics just for the purpose of a cheap, gross-out laugh and that's what makes this gem stand out.
If 2011 doesn't offer any more hilarious comedies, which I highly doubt, The Art of Getting By, Bridesmaids, Cedar Rapids, Hall Pass, and Take Me Home Tonight proudly make 2011 one funny year.
Starring: Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Kurtwood Smith, Stephen Root, Mike O'Malley, Sigourney Weaver , and Alia Shawkat. Directed by: Miguel Arteta.
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