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

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...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

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.