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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
sort of in the vain of how girls gone wild. Tim from small town
Wisconsin suddenly gets his chance to go to the insurance meeting in
Cedar Rapids after lead salesman, Roger, dies in a disturbing way. He
wants his elderly "girlfriend"( his 7th grade teacher ) to accompany
him, but she won't; after all he's pre-engaged. He doesn't know how
airport security works and is at first frightened when he sees his
roommate, Wilkes, is black. He also finds out he has a third roommate,
Ziegler, whom is the guy his boss warned him to stay away from. Ziegler
is wild and is there to party. His influence along with Joan and Wilkes
lead Tim astray from his plan. Tim gets drunk, hangs out with a hooker,
does drugs, has a dip in the pool in his boxers, and sleeps with
married Joan. But, he still "gets" the 2 diamond award before deciding
to fess up.
This movie is character driven and they were funny, especially Ziegler. It wasn't too over the top to believe a guy like Tim could go crazy with peers.
FINAL VERDICT: Worth a viewing.
I almost gave this one a lower rating, but the more I thought about it later, the more I liked it. This is a pretty well made comedy here, and it does offer more than just laughs. I couldn't help but wonder through most of it, though, 'why should we care about this story'. Well it does have some slightly deeper elements within that come out in the later, and overall everything flowed really well throughout. I found it amusing how some of the characters here felt like they trying to be funny in parts and didn't feel like they we're just acting like every other character in the film. They did feel some what genuine. Overall, the cast really shines here, but what bothered me about the film was some of it's shameless-ness felt out of place at times, and also the changes our lead character goes through in it over such a short period of time. Otherwise, I can say this is one of the better comedies of the year by far. I would also like to see Isiah Whitlock Jr. in more films as well. He was perfect in every scene he's in.
¨There's a separation between religion and insurance. It's in the
constitution.¨ Who would've ever thought that a comedy could be made
about a bunch of insurance people gathered at a Convention in a small
city named Cedar Rapids? Miguel Arteta (Youth in Revolt and The Good
Girl) certainly did, and he did a great job with directing this film
putting the emphasis on the characters and not so much on the story.
It's a character driven comedy and the cast was really perfect for this
sort of comedy; even the small city, Cedar Rapids, becomes an important
character in the movie. Phil Johnston should also receive plenty of
credit for writing an interesting and original script. He was able to
create good characters and they are developed really well in the short
90 minutes the movie lasts. Cedar Rapids is an unconventional comedy,
but it works nonetheless; there are very funny moments and great
performances from Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, and Isiah Whitlock Jr. They
all worked really well together and were able to deliver a very funny
comedy which sort of mixes the buddy comedy with road trip with the
classic fish out of the water scenario. Cedar Rapids is a very
interesting and modest small film, just like the small city in Iowa is.
It's not a perfect comedy, but Cedar Rapids is much better than most
comedies that I've seen recently, and it stands out from the rest.
The main character of the film is Tim Lippie (Ed Helms) who has dedicated his whole life to the insurance company he works for. He's lived his entire existence in Brown Valley, Wisconsin and has a relationship with his seventh grade teacher, Macy Vanderhai (Sigourney Weaver), with whom he is ¨pre-engaged.¨ He believes to be living a good life, but things turn around for him when the star insurance man of Brown Valley passes away after a freak ¨accident.¨ Lippie's boss, Bill (Stephen Root), asks him to replace his former co-worker and travel to the insurance convention in Cedar Rapids to represent the company and try to win the Two-Diamond Award for Excellence for the third year in a row. It is the first time in his life that Lippie is going to travel on a plane and stay in a hotel, so things are very new for him. He will soon realize that not everything is as it seemed, and that life can get pretty wild in Cedar Rapids. Lippie has to share his hotel room with two other insurance men who have already been to dozens of these conventions: Ronald Wilkes (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) and Dean Ziegler (John C. Reilly). Ronald is a nice African American who makes Lippie feel at home. Dean is also a great guy, but he is very outspoken and behaves unethically at times. Lippie is shocked at first by his behavior and attitude, and tries to stay away from him because his sole mission is to win the award and impress the judge, Orin (Kurtwood Smith), who is a firm preacher of ethics. Lippie also befriends a female colleague named Joan (Anne Heche) with whom he gets romantically involved. Lippie's life will change in Cedar Rapids, and he's going to have the experience of his life.
The film works really well because of a couple of factors: First of all Ed Helms did a terrific job with his character and he proved that he can be a lead man in a comedy. His performance was truly hysterical as he played the typical naïve and innocent sort of guy, and it balanced out really well with John C. Reilly's outspoken and know it all character. The chemistry between both actors was excellent, and Reilly played his role to perfection because he wasn't the typical loud character; he had much more heart and was carrying at times. Anne Heche also delivered her role really well, but the funniest character in the film for me was Isiah Whitlock who really delivered the greatest laughs with his dry humor and The Wire personating. The scene where the guys interrupt a party in order to rescue Lippie is probably one of the best ones of the movie. The success of the film really relied on the performance of these actors, because Cedar Rapids was a character driven film. The characters were believable and true, and not simply characterizations and stereotypes; they had a lot of depth. I've got to give the credit to Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, and Isiah Whitlock who all played a big part in making this as funny as it was. This is not your typical comedy, but I still recommend it.
So you've been living in a bubble your whole life while nursing along
your insurance sales career, and an opportunity arises to take your job
to the next level at a conference in Cedar Rapids, what would you do?
Here's my take:
* Believability Well, in that this is a screwball comedy, all bets are off the table, yet there are a few genuine moments that make the movie heartfelt. The funniest moments belonged to Reilly who's off-kilter craziness sealed the deal and answered the question, "What does a drunk robot say when immersed in a pool?" - Watching the movie is worth it for that moment alone, trust me...
You see Ed Helms and you think FUNNY Right..?? ... WRONG! Before
watching I decided to skip the premise, seeing Ed Helms' mug on the
cover is enough reading for me to realize this should be good! He's a
funny Guy.. But Man... How boring was it?! I don't think I laughed
once.. Not once!
The script was lacking in everything.. especially humor. I don't even know why they bothered to make this movie. If you have a look at who is in it.. Why did Sigourney Weaver decide to take on this movie.. She is in for maybe 10 minutes? That could have been money saved and spent on another script!!
Straight to the point, Tony from NZ.
Great Cast, disappointed with the script
As many of other reviewers said, lazy script. It is always make everybody crazy after being on drugs or very drunk. Couldn't writers make a comedy without these easy clichés ?
The plot was interesting and made me wanna watch the movie, but I barely found any comedy in there. I was expecting many LOL's but I only got couple smiles. John C.Reilly tried a lot to make his character funny but he did not have good lines. Ed Helms did great, he was really convincing but just the film was not good. Sad to see a great cast fooled in a bad project. I didn't like it. That's it.
This movie captures the essence of the Midwest. (i.e. reference to the
Davenport, another term for couch. Watching him pull out the travelers
checks from his "hidden fanny pack" was brilliant. Watching his
innocence diminish as the movie moves on was painful at times, but fun
John C. Reilly is in classic form and Ed Helms plays the perfect church-going dolt.
If you thought the following movies were funny, you will laugh a ton! (Talledega Nights, The Hangover, The Promotion)
Casting was spot on.
Director Miguel Arteta's fish-out-of-water comedy stars Ed Helms of
"The Office" as a small-town Iowa insurance salesman who gets his big
break when he gets to attend the big annual conference in the titular
"Cedar Rapids" (what happened to the guy he replaces is something I
won't go into here - let's just say its one of the many ways that
Arteta mixes in some raunch in this generally and genuinely otherwise
sweet tale.) From the outset, Arteta and screenwriter Phil Johnston, a
native Iowan, both embrace the oddity of the American Midwest and at
the same time poke fun at it consistently, starting with the thrill
that Helms' Tim Lippe gets from simply going through airport security.
Once he reaches the "big city," Helms does what he does best on "The
Office," mainly react to others. And "Cedar Rapids" is full of funny
folks for him to bounce off of, starting with John C. Reilly's Dean
Ziegler, who steals every inch of screen he's given.
He's so natural a comedian now that it's easy to forget Reilly was once a fairly serious character actor, even garnering an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of "Mr. Cellophane" in "Chicago." Since then, however, he's buddied up with one Will Ferrell, and has adopted many of Ferrell's best comedy touches and combined them his own hangdog appeal. He gets his best character yet here in Dean Ziegler, the ultimate buffoon-with-a-big-heart, and as much as he'll make you cringe (stick around through the closing credits for another joke so tasteless there is, again, no way it can be repeated here), he also makes you cheer as he and Helms make a mismatched buddy team of sorts.
>The main ensemble is rounded out by Anne Heche, funnier than she's been in years as a married woman on the prowl, and Isaiah Whitlock Jr., who played sleazy pol Clay Davis on "The Wire" and gets plenty of mileage here out of subverting the expectations for his character by channeling one of that show's other most beloved (and extremely violent) characters. Very good in supporting roles are the always-welcome Stephen Root as Lippe's boss and mentor, and Alia Shawkat of "Arrested Development" as a hooker who bonds with Lippe as she works the convention crowd.
In all, the movie could use a little more edge, never really reaching the satiric level of the best movies of Alexander Payne, who is one of the producers of "Cedar Rapids." But it does have a real heart and humanity that's sorely missing in most of what passes for comedy nowadays, and like the best of Arteta's movies ("The Good Girl," "Chuck & Buck" and "Youth in Revolt"), it's packed with genuine characters that he embraces even as he ridicules them.
And for that, plus plenty of low-key laughs, it's well worth checking out "Cedar Rapids."
Growing up in and working around insurance people my whole life, the
world of Cedar Rapids is spot-on; the personality types, the (yes)
Christianity, the stupid prizes that give your company this or that
credibility, the scandals, the pressure to sell. You don't have to be
from that world to appreciate the movie - there's the performances that
go a long way, including the first one from Ed Helms that shows he has
some real range past his work on The Daily Show and The Hangover (or
the Office even), and John C. Reilly of course and Anne Hece - but it
does add a certain something that I wasn't expecting. The world of
insurance isn't used simply as a goofy thing that the characters work
at, albeit it could also be real estate. It's how the world of salesmen
works in a comedic context but at the same time is grounded in what is
It also helps that the main character Helms plays, a sheltered guy who when not screwing his former math teacher (Sigourney Weaver) is being okay but not great at a Midwest insurance office, is a genuinely nice, sweet guy. Maybe too nice, which is where the dichotomy takes place between his mild-mannered self and the brusque, crude guy that Reilly plays. He, too, is also kind of sweet, but way underneath all of his braggadocio and big comments about women and "curse" words. The story moves at a good pace and the comedy comes out through some unexpected absurdism (the Christian angle) and through some sexual antics that are howlingly funny (when Helms decides to sleep with Anne Heche's character he yells "LET'S MAKE LOVE!") The quirks are kept to a minimum, despite coming from the director of Youth in Revolt, among other drama-comedies.
The only time the film really lost me was when the protagonist goes with a young hooker-type-druggie character to a big party and does some unseemly things with drugs. It wasn't that it seemed out of character at the moment (at that point anyway he's in a desperate situation), but it just went too far ans wasn't as funny as it could have been as they chose that route. Plus the ending comes on a bit rushed. But in general, Cedar Rapids has the kind of sensibility that would bring Alexander Payne on as a producer: natural, human comedy with real tragedy underneath, and pathos. It's not great, but it gets the job done. And it feels real, which is hit or miss with the kind of cast here like Helms and Reilly. 7.5/10
The film is directed by Miguel Arteta (Youth in Revolt, The Good Girl)
and it stars Ed Helms. Helms is supported by John C. Reilly, Anne
Heche, and a fantastic Isiah Whitlock Jr. This script was on 2009's
blacklist, a list of screenplays that while adored are still
unproduced, and after watching, you can see why.
The plot from Wikipedia is
"To call insurance agent Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) "naive" is a gross understatement. He's never left his small Wisconsin hometown. He's never stayed at a hotel. And he's never experienced anything like Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sent to the "major metropolis" to represent his company at the annual insurance convention, Tim is soon distracted by three convention veterans (John C. Reilly, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock Jr.) who will show him the ropes and push his boundaries. For a guy who plays everything by the book, this convention will be anything but conventional."
This movie is both hilarious and touching at the same time. Helms character Lippe is in his first "big" city and he really has never had a chance to "grow up" in his life, so Cedar Rapids is his chance to experience the world. As you can imagine Lippe is in wayyy over his head and has life changing experiences.
First off, do not judge this movie by the trailer. It does the film no justice at all. The movie is a dirty and raunchy comedy, but at its core it has a great heart. Ed Helms plays Tim in this classic "fish out of water" story. Ed Helms is great in the lead and I completely fell in love with his character. Helms plays it so touchingly that you can't help but root for him through the entire movie. Helms is great in the lead, but it is his supporting characters that take the movie to a new level.
Normally I am not the biggest fan of John C Reilly, and find his shtick a little boring, along with Will Ferrell. However, in Cedar Rapids, Riley gives a terrific performance. His character, Dean Ziegler, is crude, crass, and downright dirty. As I said, you cannot tell how dirty this man is just from the trailers. Not only does he have the best laughs, he plays a great character. Ziegler is a womanizing dirty man, but you can also see that he is a tortured soul and Riley does this ever so slightly, but effectively.
The other two leads are Anne Heche, where has she been for 5 years?, and Isiah Whitlock Jr., of the fantastic TV series The Wire. Heche plays Joan who goes from nice and sweet, to flirty and dirty. I really enjoyed Heche and hope to see her a little more in the future. The real memorable cast member is Isiah Whitlock Jr., who plays Ronald. Ronald is the dorkiest black man to grace the Midwest. Every one of Isiah's lines leaves you in stitches and the biggest laugh of the movie comes when the movie gets meta and Ronald makes a reference to The Wire.
Quick other cast notes. Kurtwood Smith shows up for some great laughs, he was the father on That 70's Show and made that show great "dumbass". It is also a little strange seeing Alia Shawkat show up as a prostitute. You probably know her as Maeby from Arrested Development. Guess I still see her as a 15-year-old girl.
In the end this is a small, touching, sweet, and heartwarming movie; yet at the same time being filthy and hilarious. I think this movie is in limited release, and most likely it will be a small movie and not expand too far, but you should really see it in theaters or at the very least DVD. You will not regret it.
I give this an 8 out of 10 / B+
Thank you and as always ENJOY THE MOVIES!
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