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|Index||80 reviews in total|
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.
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!
I've been seeing trailers for this movie for weeks now and thought "It
looks alright." Last night, I decided to shell out my student discount
at the theaters to see this.
From beginning to end, this movie does not disappoint. The script is well written and the acting is solid; I found myself liking Anne Heche for the first time in this movie. The jokes are well delivered by a cast who was perfectly picked. I also enjoyed the brevity of the film. There are deeper themes in this movie but the film stays light-hearted without feeling like another mediocre, cash-driven Hollywood comedy.
I enjoyed sitting in the vast theater with my friend and maybe 15 other people watching this movie. Everyone seemed to vibe well watching this movie, making it easier for all of us to enjoy it.
DO NOT wait until this film is released on Netflix to see it. Grab a friend or two, grab a beer before hand and then go see this movie. It's worth the price of admission.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Cedar Rapids is a bit like the Mid-West it personifiesawkward, tied to
its conservative roots, yet different just a smidge from the Iowa,
Nebraska, and Wisconsin corn. Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) travels to an
insurance convention in the titular city from his fictional town of
Brown Valley, Wisconsin, to compete for the ultimate 2 Diamonds
insurance prize while actually taking a figurative coming-of-age
It's a morality tale couched in the residue of The Hangover, which was a funnier but less instructive comedy. The interaction between Helms and Dean Ziegler (John C. Reilly), Tim's polar opposite, is successful the way Aniston and Sandler were last month, and they elevate the film to good humor.
Befriending a prostitute; sleeping with a knockout, married agent; and taking copious drugs are the three stock stimulants to help Tim grow up from his restricted 34 years of small-town values.
When his new friends help him to party and discover himself, the film has humorous moments (Ziegler in a pool with a garbage can hat imitating R2-D2), but when the insurance corruption of the convention takes over, it sinks with the weight of its own moralizing. When Helms can't break out of his Steve Carrel channeling, it all is minor humor.
A good-old boy, bromantic air lies about the film, and the jabs at the ironies of the insurance business are quietly funny. All however suffer from a lack of punchy lines, and with the exception of Reilly, middling' performances (a stronger script would have helped good actors like Anne Heche as the sexy agent Joan Ostrowski Fox).
What happens in Cedar Rapids, stays there, we are told. I just wish it were more like Vegas.
Mitch Hansch/ movieswithmitch.com
Miguel Arteta's "Cedar Rapids" is a film of non-epic proportions. This small film out of Sundance could have just come and gone but a premium mixture of an outstanding group of supporting actors and a genuine sweetness that persistently washes over you makes for a winner. "Cedar Rapids" takes the raunch shenanigans of a "Hangover" and cradles it with the small town values and self-discovery of a Capra film. This doesn't have the emotional punch and scope that "The 40-Year Old Virgin" challenged us with but Artera's focus on characters instead of situations creates humor that will make you happy and sad. Gotta love the sad humor.
A grand supporting player himself, that is up to now, "The Office's" talented Ed Helms takes the lead as Tom Lippe. Lippe is a uber-naive Midwest insurance salesman from the very small town of Brown Valley, Wisconsin. When the top salesman suddenly passes away, the big boss (Stephen Root) hands over the reigns to Lippe to travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the annual insurance convention to bring home the coveted Two Diamonds Award. This will be a trip of firsts for Lippe. Including his first trip to a metropolis that he gets to by taking his first plane ride, where he will stay in his first hotel. While on the plane Lippe endearingly takes the emergency exit seat responsibilities to heart.
Lippe is roomed with convention veterans Ronald Wilkes ( Isiah Whitlock Jr.) and the one man he was warned to stay away from, Dean Ziegler, played by professional scene-stealer John C. Reilly. Reilly ignites the screen instantly with belly laughs as the foul-mouthed party animal Ziegler. Reilly is the pepper to my mothers pork chop; a decent dish by itself but you can never add enough pepper to it. More Reilly pepper please. Rounding out the crew is the goofy sexy Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Anne Heche). Heche really brings a playful attractiveness that I haven't seen from her in years. Heche captures Joan, a mother of three, who treats these excursions with the attitude of what happens in Cedar Rapids, stays in Cedar Rapids. Heche is funny and dangerous as that sweet woman who seeks out the nerd, making Lippe a prime target.
Small town Lippe of course gets in way over his head where the big lights and characters of Iowa's second city challenges moral convictions. Helms is just right for this role of a man who gets nudged out of the nest but goes kicking and screaming. When Helms flashes that child-like grin it makes you happy and when consequences make for a frown and regretful eyes you're right there with him as well. A hilarious drug addled scene of Lippe screaming "So bummed out" shows Helms is capable of staying in the lead.
Director Arteta is responsible for the squirmy " Chuck & Buck" and fellow Reilly flick "The Good Girl". "Cedar Rapids" might be his best one yet as he delivers a fast paced 86-minute roller coaster ride that never falls off despite loose bolts about to rattle off. When situations get extreme, we're not calling BS because of those sublime characters that were developed along the way. Arteta and scribe Phil Johnston don't quite go for the jugular with the religious satire as much as I'd liked, making for missed opportunities. "Cedar Rapids" makes up for it with it's blessings of fine performances that also include the wonderful Sigourney Weaver and "Arrested Develpments" Alia Shawkat. "Cedar Rapids is a film that may not have the staying power of others but while you're watching you'll be in a better place for it.
"This" will be in a better place for it.
Cedar Rapids is a decent comedy aiming to be Ed Helms's attempt to
segue into leading man status as fellow "Daily Show" reporter Steve
Carell did with "The 40 Year Old Virgin". This is a less successful
attempt, due in large part to some strange story decisions (he's
sleeping with his former teacher, one scene involving illicit drugs
comes out of nowhere and seems like part of a completely different
movie). Ed Helms is funny enough, likable although he lacks Carell's
goofy charm that makes it so easy to look past his quirks. This renders
much of the comedy more awkwardly uncomfortable than it otherwise
should have been.
Anne Heche is the real highlight here, portraying a married woman who uses her annual trips to an insurance convention as an escape from her mundane family life. She is charming, funny, and easy to sympathize with, even if her motivations are entirely selfish. John C. Reilly chews the scenery in an over-the-top performance--a very hit-or-miss performance here. Isiah Whitlock Jr. pulls off his role very well, and he does offer up one of the most hilarious scenes in the film as he attempts to escape from a hostile group of partygoers. Alia Shawkat (excellent on Arrested Development) shines when she's on screen, making me wish the film had focused more on her than it did. Her role as a drug-addled prostitute does eventually lead to some unfortunate plot turns, but Shawkat is able to rise above the material. The same can't be said for Sigourney Weaver, who has the thankless role of former teacher, and while she's entertaining on screen, she seems to be here more for name recognition than anything else.
This is a somewhat entertaining comedy, lacking technical expertise (excruciatingly bad lighting, lackluster cinematography, poor direction and editing) but bearing some bad storytelling decisions. The art direction seems to suggest this film takes place during the 1980s, and had it not been for the cars and cell phones, I would have believed it. Did the costumer design team purposefully hit thrift stores looking for the most unfortunate clothes around? I imagine this was for comedic effect, but it sadly misses the mark and makes the film oddly anachronistic instead.
Cedar Rapids looked like the type of comedy that could go either way.
The trailer seemed to hint at Ed Helms channeling his Stu Price
character from The Hangover. In fact, that was my initial thought
process going in; that Cedar Rapids would probably be an extension of
Helms' character in The Hangover. Other than the trailer being attached
to one film before a screening, I've never seen the film advertised
anywhere else as most haven't seen anything relating to the film at
all. Luckily, the film was able to offer a little more than what it let
on and actually turned out to be a rather solid R-rated comedy.
This shouldn't be a downright comparison between The Hangover and Cedar Rapids though; no matter how blatant it may seem. There is very little in common between the two films other than Ed Helms starring in both films and the crazy occurrences that can transpire under the influence of alcohol (in addition to some sort of hallucinogen, as well). Cedar Rapids is a comedy that is driven by Ed Helms' dorky yet alluring charm.
The cast is easily the film's most valuable asset as the scenes featuring all of the main cast are the most hilarious and the most memorable. Other than Ed Helms nerding it up to perfection, John C. Reilly almost steals the show as the loyal sex-hound Dean Ziggler. This also may be the best Anne Heche has looked in any film she's been a part of. The Cedar Rapids yearly ASMI convention being her character's only means of escaping the redundancy of everyday family life added a bit of depth to her character and made what would otherwise be scandalous actions a little more meaningful. Heche's real charm comes out in the scenes she shares with Helms. Their relationship is one of the driving factors of the film. Isiah Whitlock Jr plays Ronald Wilkes, a man who takes his job as an insurance salesman incredibly seriously but who also lets his dry humor and constant admiration of "the HBO program The Wire" shine at the best of times. Sigourney Weaver's character seemed to catch me off guard. Mostly because when you think of Weaver, you think of Aliens, Ghostbusters, or Avatar. In Cedar Rapids, she plays an on the prowl cougar who teaches and is just looking for a good time. So much for typecasting, eh? Stephen Root, Kurtwood Smith, and Alia Shawkat all have their moments, as well.
Cedar Rapids does have an indie feel to it though, which is probably a fair assessment to make since the film's budget was only $8 million. Cedar Rapids has a Little Miss Sunshine kind of atmosphere to it. Not so much in tone, but more of the way it was filmed. It could be a turn-off for some viewers who aren't fans of movies with small budgets.
Cedar Rapids is easily the funniest film to be released in 2011 so far. The entire cast plays off of each other in the best of ways and even some of the smaller roles given to more recognizable stars are pivotal to the laughs in the film. Unpredictable at times and extremely over the top at others, Cedar Rapids is definitely worth a watch if you enjoy R-rated comedies or films similar to The Hangover or Little Miss Sunshine.
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