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Folks asked me if I planned to see The Hangover, Part II. My reply?:
Heck, man; I hated the original! Why would I want to see the sequel?
Cedar Rapids is all the things that a real comedy is supposed to be. Real character development, real plot elements, people laughing, crying, maturing, becoming fully human before your very eyes. Seeds of heroism blossom into manhood, and bogus, artificial boundaries are justly savaged. And for their trouble the savages find themselves in a wondrous land where actual love is possible.
How very, very, very gratifying to see Helms in a role where he gets to properly channel this kind of fine theater into our lives. Yea verily: There is life after The Daily Show!
Now. All that said, I'm not blind to the facts of pop culture. It may well be that Cedar Rapids will not be your cup of tea. I can only encourage you to be ready to be deeply touched by a comedy. This is the mark of great comedy; that underneath it all is a great, human-dimensioned heroism. And be ready to have Helms convince you that a nebbishy insurance rep can become a mighty Samson; albeit one who lives to tell the tale, with a winsome smile on his saintly lips.
A bit of a slow burner but I warmed to it with time. Ed Helms was
wonderful as the shy sexually sober sales man with a crush on his
former teacher, Sigourney Weaver who had long since given him homework.
Sowing his wild oats,( and not the type Cedar Rapids are famous for)
provided interesting bedfellows such as Anne Heche and Inga R Wilson
For me the star of the movie was John C Reilly as the loud/foul mouthed
sales man. What a wonderful performer he is. The pot smoking party
scene was hilarious
Insurance selling in Cedar Rapids is high risk but the returns were reliable.
A classic case of the small town guy being taken in by the big city, small minded forced to open his mind to the harsh realities. This movie wasn't great, but it had some good scenes, nice acting, and was an overall enjoyment. It's not a movie that you'll remember after a few weeks but it provides a good time-passer. Don't go in expecting too much, but the transformation of Tim Lippe from a small town man into the man he was taught to hate, is funny at times and John C. Reilly definitely brought what was great about him in Talladega Nights to this one. 8/10 because there wasn't anything that was really original, that I've seen in some other movies.
"Cedar Rapids" is slow. And by that I mean, the humour in the film
progresses slowly. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the town, is not slow. At least
not to Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) because he's from Brown Valley, Wisconsin.
He lives in a world that even those of us from similar towns don't
believe that it's really that sheltered.
It's a peculiar brand of humour. One which results from Tim's complete naiveté. He becomes friends with a prostitute, is scared of a black man, and doesn't understand common hotel and airport practices. It's an immature adult comedy involving male genitalia humour, and using marijuana for the first time and then graduating to cocaine within a few minutes. Although it has an original plot (I've never seen a movie set at a Christian insurance convention before), it's a predictable plot. But that's also exactly how the filmmakers intended it to be. You are meant to just sit and enjoy yourself with the characters just as much as the comedic situations.
As the film progressed, it does get much funnier. Tim becomes more comfortable in his surroundings (at times too comfortable) and you become more comfortable too. And it's near the end that Isiah Whitlock Jr. has uttered some of the funniest lines you'll ever hear, John C. Reilly's drunken asshole becomes humanized, and Rob Corddry makes his anticipated appearance with Ed Helms. "Cedar Rapids" takes you to a peculiar place, but a funny and enjoyable one nonetheless.
"Iowa: The Place To Party" Director Miguel Arteta ("Youth In Revolt")
explores the satire of business conventions in the raunchy, adult,
independent comedy "Cedar Rapids." Even though the film seems very
familiar, it is told with a small town Iowa spin. Ed Helms ("The
Hangover") plays a character he has played before, putting his label on
ordinary insurance agent Tim Lippie. The film ironicizes itself when
Lippie's coworker Roger Lemke (Thomas Lennon, "I Love You Man") dies in
a freak sexual accident. This indirectly challenges the Christian
undertone of the company because of Lemke's success at winning the
double diamond award of excellence for top Christian Insurance sales
two years in a row. Consequently, Lippie has to take Lemke's place,
however, he has never left the bubble his town has created. The
pressure is one as he represents one of fifty firms fighting for this
year's double diamond title. Lippie reluctantly leaves his so-called
"girlfriend" Macy Vanderhei (Sigourney Weaver, "Alien") for the weekend
destined for Cedar Rapids, Iowa. There, he rooms with Ronald Wilkes
(Isiah Whitlock Jr., "Goodfellas") and troublemaker Dean Ziegler (John
C. Reilly, "Step Brothers"), who his boss told him to avoid at all
costs. As the convention progresses he meets a prostitute named Bree
(Alia Shawkat, "Arrested Development") and unfaithful housewife Joan
Ostrowski-Fox (Anne Heche, "John Q"), ultimately succumbing to the
antics of Ziegler and his posse. Lippe has to make a choice in order to
please Orin Helgesson (Kurtwood Smith, "That 70s Show") to win the
award, while finding his own independence. The convention becomes much
more than just a competition to see who is going to win the double
diamond award as Lippe reaches a crossroads between following authority
and just stepping back and letting loose.
Simple films like "Cedar Rapids" heavily rely on their actors to create characters able to hold the viewer's attention. Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Anne Heche successfully fulfill this task by making the city of Cedar Rapids the life of the party. By doing so they are able to undermine the common belief that conventions are all about business, therefore, replacing this theme with implicit social commentary. This allows the characters to unfasten themselves releasing the raunchy male-targeted comedy combined with the simple metaphorical message of a coming of age tale about a man trying to find him. While getting straight to the underlying meaning of the film, it takes a unique path to do so. Resulting in a film that foregoes the cliché of Lippie proving himself by winning the double diamond award. Instead Helms and Lippe make this meek film into a meaningful fight against the man.
With the simplicity and avoidance of cliché situational results, "Cedar Rapids" still succumbs to various stereotypical behaviors. As much as Heche's character, Joan, tries to break out of her stereotypical role as an adulterous wife, in the end, life just moves right along as it always has. This creates predictable relationship developments without any proper repercussions causing her very complex character to be portrayed to be very one-dimensional. This can be accredited to the film's short runtime, which acts as a pro and a con to the movie (a con interrupting character development). Lastly, the film begins in a very deceptive light influencing the viewer's interpretation of the film immediately gravitating towards just another raunchy comedy, which it is not.
"Cedar Rapids" is true to its simplistic small town name giving the viewer a humble snippet of artful comedic cinema. Helms and cast bring the party to Iowa in what becomes a very solid modest experience in which Lippe may even become a special kind of hero.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is a foul mouthed fairy tale of friendship and
self-discovery, but it does ask its audience for a big indulgence. You
have to be willing to believe that someone could be so naïve and
sheltered that Cedar Rapids, Iowa could be New York City to their Joe
Buck. If you can buy that and aren't put off by somewhat Fargo-ish
portrayals of Midwesterners, you'll get a lot of laughs out of this
Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) is an insurance agent from small town Wisconsin who, due to a fatal sexual mishap, is sent to the annual insurance convention in Cedar Rapids. His mission is to win the coveted Two Diamonds award for his firm, which Tim's to dorky, 20-years-behind-the-times brain is a challenge on par with climbing Mount Everest or finding a cure for cancer. Almost immediately upon arrival, Tim falls in with a delightfully wrong crowd. There's Dean Ziegler (John C. Reilly), a gregarious amalgamation of cursing and inappropriate behavior; Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Anne Heche), a sexy and mischievous woman who uses the annual Cedar Rapids convention as her own personal Las Vegas escape; and Ronald Wilkes (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), who is essentially a more functional, African-American version of Tim.
Facing temptation from his new friends, pressure from his boss (Stephen Root), the allure of a local hooker (Alia Shawkat) and the looming presence of the moralizing convention president, Tim has to learn that there's more to life, love and sex than fooling yourself about being "pre-engaged" to your 7th grade teacher.
While it's not nearly as mannered as Fargo, Cedar Rapids includes a similar take on Midwestern values and social norms. But instead of being about deceit, greed and murder, this is a story of a man having to put aside his underdeveloped, childlike view of himself and the world and become a real grown up. If you can accept that Tim Lippe starts out from such an immature place, this becomes a really entertaining coming of age movie about a guy who should have come of age a long time ago.
The script is full of humor, from Dean Ziegler's crude one-liners to Lippe's alternating unbridled joy and crushing shame at everything from booze to sex to drugs. Anne Heche does a marvelous turn as the woman who finds herself caring about Tim more than she wants. It's a shame that most people probably know Heche from some bad, big budget productions and her weird personal life because she's turned into a very pretty and very talented character actress in little films like this one. John C. Reilly is great, as always, in taking an overblown caricature and finding some way to make you care about him. There are times when Ed Helms seems to be veering off into sketch comedy, but he brings it back under control.
I had a good time visiting Cedar Rapids. I think you'd enjoy making the trip.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I like the actors in this movie. Ed Helms is one of my favorite actors.
If you have no moral code whatsoever then this movie deserves a rating
of at least 8 on a 10 scale.
As a Catholic this movie offends my core beliefs. For starters, Tim is screwing around with his former teacher outside of marriage. Then, when Tim goes to the insurance convention he gets drunk and uses that as a reason to justify having sex with Ann Heche's character who happens to be married and a mother of several young kids. After this Tim hangs out with a prostitute at a drug party where he does a lot of drugs and kisses the prostitute. His friends stop him from having sex with the prostitute.
Then Tim bribes the president of the insurance association to win the coveted double diamond award. Of all these sins Tim is only sorry that he bribed the association president.
Also, in this movie there is a lot of demeaning sexual talk. Lots of gutter language. There is even a scene where Tim is taking a dump and another agent barges into the bathroom only to realize how stinky the room has become. Well, duh! That scene was not funny at all.
Overall, this movie demeans the human spirit and glorifies bad decision making.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Do you even know where Cedar Rapids is? Can you locate it on a map?
It's in Iowa, look on the east side of the state, now look a little
north of Iowa City. There you got it. You might have heard of it
because of some awful flooding a few years back. So, why make a comedy
movie about the second largest city in Iowa?
Why not? It's a clean comedy slate; you don't know much about the town and just about anything can take place there. Heck, as far as you know it could be the next Las Vegas. With all the meth labs, same sex marriages and Indian casinos, anything goes in Iowa. Who needs Vegas when you got the Rapids?
"Cedar Rapids" is a story about a likable insurance salesman, Tim Lippe (played by Ed Helms) who has spent his entire life in Brown Valley, Wisconsin. He lives alone. He is pre-engaged to his grade school teacher (played by Sigourney Weaver). He works at Brown Star Insurance Company. He loves what he does and he loves being a resident of Brown Valley.
Tim's boss, Bill Krogstad (played by Stephen Root), asks Tim to go to Cedar Rapids for the annual insurance convention. At the convention they will award the top insurance agency with the prestigious Two Diamond Award.
Tim makes it to Cedar Rapids (via his first airplane flight, ever) and ends up rooming with two other insurance agents, Ronald Wilkes (played by Isiah Whitlock Jr.) who delivers the film's cleanest jokes. And then there is Dean Ziegler (played by John C. Reilly) who is rarely seen without a drink in hand and delivers the dirtiest jokes of the film.
Once the three meet the comedy of the film starts kicking into high gear. There are f-bombs, bathroom humor, locker room humor, sophomoric zingers, sex jokes, drinking jokes and many more lewd sight gags to keep the audience smiling, laughing or shaking their heads in disbelief. The humor was done well with a cast that seemed to click; no one single actor took the spotlight from the rest of the troupe.
Aside from the crude jokes we see a few romantic relations develop with Tim. One of the relations is with a prostitute (played by Alia Shawkat) and the other is with Joan (played by Anne Heche), an insurance agent from Omaha. It will always baffle my mind how an average Joe can meet a prostitute and an attractive red head then develop relationships with both of them all in a 24-hour period.
Tim engages in some heavy drinking with his new friends, ends up spending the night with Joan and blows the deal to win the Two Diamond Award. He digs deep inside his dark place to do the unthinkable to win that award.
Should you see this movie? Yes, it's a funny movie. It could potentially be a comedy hit, which you don't see too many of in these winter months. The foul language is intense; you should go in expecting some crude humor because with Reilly's mouth, you will get it in both ears. You might even leave with a whole different perspective on a town that you never heard of.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) is a goody insurance agent who's goal in life is
to actually help people. His companion, Roger, is successful and won
the insurance award three times. Tim, in hope of getting an award
himself, took Roger's spot after Roger died to go to the convention in
Cedar Rapids. What happens at Cedar Rapids stays in Cedar Rapids? Well,
Tim sure hoped so, because what Tim did, it was like The Hangover
version but subtract Zach Galifinakis.
Ed Helms plays an emotional guy who had never been out of state and is afraid to use his credit card. And he does it well, considering his role in The Office is quite similar. But the stand-out in this film is how John C. Reilly is a playboy who always talk about girls. Although he doesn't get any, but he's hilarious. The film was helped by the smart writing that made the film almost as funny as The Hangover. Suceeded at the Sundance, Cedar Rapids had made its way into my list of Best Comedy of the Year.
Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) is an insurance agent for a small company in a far from large city in Wisconsin. He's really never ventured anywhere, staying near his home most of his life. On the side, he is having a fling with a former teacher, newly divorced (Sigourney Weaver). Yes, she's a bit older than him, but still hot and Tim thinks there is a future between them. In the policy biz, he leaves the spotlight for a fellow agent (Thomas Lennon) who has won prizes from a big, annual hoopla in Cedar Rapids Iowa, two years running. Oh, fate is not kind! The prize winner dies suddenly and the big boss asks Tim to go to CR and declares he MUST come back with the top award money. At once, Tim hates leaving his comfort zone and his lady love. Arriving in CR, he meets a nice agent who will be his roommate (Isaiah Whitlock Jr.) So far, so good. Tim even makes eyes with a beautiful lady saleswoman in the fitness room (Anne Heche). But, all heck breaks lose when a loudmouth agent named Dean (John C. Reilly) shows up and announces that he is rooming with Tim! With all of these talented insurance sellers in the same place and a harsh judge (Kurtwood Smith), will Tim have any chance to win the competition? And, will Tim succumb to the temptations of the "big city"? Also, are there some secrets to be uncovered, especially about past prize winners? This delightful indie is a quirky, entertaining movie. The cast is terrific and very talented, giving memorable turns, although Heche is hard to recognize with a auburn hairdo. The script and direction, too, are lively and intelligent. No, the setting, mostly inside a large hotel, is not exactly eye candy but the costumes are quite fine. My advice is to move rapidly, all indie fans and others, too, to the DVD outlets and snag Cedar Rapids before too many minutes pass you by.
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