Cedar Rapids

"Excellent"

Cedar Rapids Review


This goofy fish-out-of-water comedy is deeply endearing. As it follows its central character on a clumsy voyage of discovery, we can't help but laugh even as we try not to recognise ourselves in him.

In Brown Valley, Wisconsin, Tim (Helms) is an earnest mid-30s insurance salesman in love with his 7th-grade teacher (Weaver), who's only using him for sex. Oblivious to the moral failings of people around him, Tim heads to an insurance convention in Cedar Rapids, the biggest city he's ever seen. There his worldview is smashed by the outrageous antics of his colleagues, including party boy Dean (Reilly), married but flirty Joan (Heche) and repressed nice guy Ronald (Whitlock), as they all contend with insurance president Orin (Smith) for coveted Two Diamonds status.

The film's low-key humour may only gurgle over into laugh-out-loud hilarity a few times (like the scavenger hunt sequence), but the grin never leaves our faces. Even if it's a somewhat uncomfortable smile as we watch this naive man stumble unprepared into the real world. Tim is thrilled by everything he encounters, even as he sees danger on every side and struggles with a series of very awkward encounters (like running into Orin naked in the hotel gym).

Eventually his principles about alcohol, sex, drugs and bribery are challenged to the breaking point.

Essentially, the film's theme is that adopting other peoples' principles means nothing until you strip them away and rebuild them for yourself. And the filmmakers cleverly infuse this strong statement into the superficial on-screen silliness. Helms is terrific as the decent guy who learns to let his hair down, and he plays beautifully opposite the more scene-stealing Reilly, the deadpan Whitlock and especially a lively, sexy Heche. All of these characters are essentially stereotypes, but they deepen and twist along the way.

Like the dopey younger brother of Up in the Air, this is a breezy exploration of American corporate culture. In this case, it's Midwestern Christianity that infuses every gathering, and this is something screenwriter Johnston subtly skewers as he contrasts Tim's moral simplicity against everyone else's double standards. And watching him find an even more sure footing is quietly exhilarating.



Cedar Rapids

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedies

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th March 2011

Box Office USA: $6.9M

Box Office Worldwide: $6.9M

Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Production compaines: Ad Hominem Enterprises

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Fresh: 135 Rotten: 23

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Joan Ostrowski-Fox, as Tim Lippe, as Macy Vanderhei, John C. Reilly as Dean Ziegler, as Gary, as Bree, Isiah Whitlock, Jr. as Ronald Wilkes, as Bill Krogstad, as Orin Helgesson, as Roger Lemke, Mike O'Malley as Mike Pyle, Inga R. Wilson as Gwen Lemke, as Trent, Seth Morris as Uncle Ken

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.