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Cedar Rapids definitely provides some good laughs, but don't expect to
be laughing throughout. And as with so many recent movies, if you've
seen the previews, you've seen about half of the punchlines, anyway. As
a former Iowan, I was disappointed that the movie didn't really capture
much of the vibe of the state, in my opinion. It might as well have
been filmed just about anywhere in the Midwest, with the corresponding
Ed Helms is decent, but he lacks the active style of humor that he brings to The Office. In this movie, it's not so much that he himself is funny as it is that the things that go on around his childlike character are amusing. His Midwestern dialog comes off flatter than I would like, as compared to, say, Fargo, Juno, or Napolean Dynamite, in which the quirkiness of Midwestern dialog really shines through.
But my biggest complaint about the movie is it's cynical morality. By the end, most of the outwardly good people turn out to be jerks, and most of the outwardly amoral people are the good guys. Big surprise. And most of the morally questionable stuff that happens in the meantime turns out to have no real consequence whatsoever; it just happens, we have a few laughs, and then life goes on. Only the main character ever seems to be at all morally conflicted about his decisions, everyone else just does what they do. I'm not saying that movies need to have a message, it's just that this one bypasses any profound moral complexity for its banal approach of simple, inverted morality.
Anyway, I saw the movie because I thought it would be cool to see a movie set in Iowa. If you don't have a similar reason to see it, you won't be missing much if wait to catch it on video--or not at all.
This is a purely nice and even heartwarming comedy. Sure, most the characters are one dimensional presentations but somehow the movie connects just enough to make it worth while. There are no real side splitting laughs. In fact, I would barely call this a comedy at all if not for the efforts of John C. Reilly. He absolutely steals the show. His work may not be classified as side splitting but it comes really really close. We've all seen it before but not without Will Ferrell to partner up with and bounce ideas off. Reilly proves he needs no one else to be funny. Still, this is a human interest story plain and very simple. Note: Anne Heche has still got it and was MILFing up the screen at every turn. What a wonderful woman.
*** 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.
"Cedar Rapids" an independent release comedy certainly brings plenty of
laughs and fun in fact it's one of the better comedy and feel good
movies I've saw recently. After viewing I had a smile on my face and
felt happy with feel good energy. It proves that life is about having
fun and you can still be true to yourself and those around you. Plus
the all star cast had well working chemistry that made the film more
enjoyable to watch.
Set in a small Wisconsin town a nerd and dork of an insurance salesman Tim Lippe(well done by Ed Helms)only has one thing to occupy his time besides selling insurance, and that's being seduced by a former seventh grade teacher of his and that is Macy(Sigourney Weaver who still looks good after all these years!) a serious no commitment professional cougar type. Yet after the local firm's top selling agent dies Tim's world is turned upside down when he's picked to attend a Midwest regional insurance convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And this will be a big step for the sheltered small town boy Tim who's never traveled to far.
Upon arrival in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the nice hotel suite things seem different and more wide open. As with any new travel entrance and journey new people are encountered and new adventures await as life is all about discovery and exploring. Tim's roommates are like daylight and dark first is veteran Minnesota salesman Ronald Wilkes(a strong turn by Isiah Whitlock Jr.)and he's knowledgeable and serious but helpful. And then you have the wide open and party boy drinker Wisconsin salesman Dean Ziegler(over the top and wildly done by John C. Reilly). Now enter the spice and sugar to the cake Tim encounters Joan(Anne Heche in a very sexy performance especially the pool scene)a free spirited and talkative lady who's not shy about having fun even though she's a married lady with kids. This trio will clearly help Tim open up and come out of his shell. Along the way the late nights, alcohol, and parties are just downright fun and laughable. Neat was also seeing at the hotel club the Jack Nicholson impersonator! Thru it all Tim will learn a lot as a side of him is opened up along the way though he learns still to be truthful to himself and his new trio of friends which will lead to a new path for all of them by the end of the film. "Cedar Rapids" is an excellent feel good comedy with plenty of laughs and feel good fun it proves life is about opening up as it's meant for new friends and new discoveries on each adventure trip one takes. In the process one will learn to to be truthful with themselves and others making for a meaningful lesson after discovering newfound fun and breaking out of a sheltered living like Tim did. Overall a smiling face and thumbs up for "Cedar Rapids" as both the cast and story was excellent and meaningful.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ed Helms' role in The Office was my reason for wanting to see this
film, other than that I didn't know a thing about it. So it was a nice
surprise to see a pretty nice cast turning up here, especially the
enchanting Alia Shawkat and The Wire's Isiah Whitlock Jr., and I could
have sworn I saw Jack Nicholson there for a few seconds...
The premise of a Wisconsin farm boy (they breed insurance) going to a bigger city for his maiden voyage was promising, but it mainly delivered because of all the fun actors in it, and a few individual scenes were quite funny, like the drug outing with Bree and the pool brouhaha. The script is just barely doable, in particular the way it all lands so nicely on its feet is is just too predictable and dull.
Not bad, but could have been so much better.
This one is actually pretty decent, though. The writing isn't amazing
or anything, but it's better than you'd expect. The setup is nothing
special -- just another fish out of water scenario -- that becomes
increasingly sly and cynical as time goes on. While there's a depth to
the writing that I didn't expect, it's the actors that really make it
work and come alive. I especially liked John C. Reilly, who made me at
first wince with his stereotypical, party animal characterization, but
then exposed a fully fleshed out character who rose beyond the
stereotype. It's this kind of sly writing that exposes a cliché, then
winks at you, as it reworks the cliché. Unfortunately, this isn't
always the case. There are a few barbs in here at the expense of
conservatives, Christians, and Midwesterners that are played painfully
straight. There's certainly a subversive element here, but part of me
wonders if it would have been even more subversive to avoid some of the
most obvious and clichéd elements that we were all expecting, such as
hypocritical Christians and backstabbing businessmen.
In the end, there's personal growth for each of the protagonists, lessons are learned, and comeuppance is served to the antagonists. Amusingly, consequences are avoided for the vast majority of actions taken by the protagonists, leading some fine, upstanding Christians to decry this movie. I found that to be arguably even more entertaining than the movie itself. My problem with the end is not that it's amoral, but that it's a bit predictable. Still, it was handled well, and I did enjoy the movie.
I go back and forth on my rating, torn between a 6/10 and 7/10. There are a lot of clichéd elements to the script, and simply inverting the clichés doesn't instantly make them witty. However, the cast (especially John C. Reilly) really does rise above the less witty aspects of the writing. I always liked John C. Reilly, but now I think I'd call myself a fan, on the strength of his performance.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Of course, there were the usual nice guy gone wild scenes, and stock happy ending, but this ensemble cast pulled it off brilliantly. There were many scenes in which I laughed out loud. I was disappointed in the scant use of Sigourney Weaver, however. Overall, a fun time was had by all who watched it. John C Reilly really made the movie. A true comedic actor. Ann Heche played a believable bored housewife out for her yearly fling. Good to see her again. Ed Helms played the perfect dork with a conscience. Isaiah Whitlock was solid, and I laughed at many of his scenes, but when they had him play a stereotype "black dude", it was kind of predictable, especially the reaction at the party in which everyone was "scared". Still, with all it's flaws I enjoyed it. Definitely re-able.
"Cedar Rapids" is not really the type of comedy that will have you
laughing hard and wiping your cheeks from tears of laughter. But it is
the kind of comedy that slowly seeps into you and stays with you for
The story is about the fairly naive and timid of life insurance agent Tim Lippe (played by Ed Helms) who have to go to a convention in Cedar Rapids in order to attempt to win an award for his company. Here he befriends Dean Ziegler (played by John C. Reilly), Ronald Wilkes (played by Isiah Whitlock Jr.) Joan Ostrowski-Fox (played by Anne Heche) who all play parts in a life-changing event for Tim.
The story in "Cedar Rapids" was actually quite good, and it was captivating and really nicely put onto the big screen. The story was progressing at a nice pace and had some great moments, where the actors and actresses really got to shine in their characters. I was really impressed with both Ed Helms and Anne Heche, and their on-screen chemistry was just so great. But there was also nice supporting roles by Stephen Root (playing Bill Krogstad), Kurtwood Smith (playing Orin Helgesson), Sigourney Weaver (playing Macy Vanderhei) and Thomas Lennon (playing Roger Lemke).
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, despite it not really being the type of movie that made me laugh. But it was a great story and one that seemed very plausible and one that you could easily put yourself into. It is a comedy that celebrates life and all the chaotic randomness that makes up people's lives.
"Cedar Rapids" is well worth checking out.
The poster for Cedar Rapids made me expect a hijinks-away-from-home movie with plenty of physical, gross-out and fish-out-of-water humor. There's certainly some of that - especially the last one - but the pleasant surprise is that it's not the focus of the movie. The humor, actually, is surprisingly dry and sardonic, and for the most part dark satire takes precedence over physical gags, which are there just enough to keep it funny. This works thanks to an excellent, sharp script and great characters - Ed Helms is aided by solid performances from John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr. (The Wire), Stephen Root (NewsRadio) and Kurtwood Smith (That 70's Show). A very solid comedy, not particularly memorable but very much worth a watch.
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