||IMDB Rating: 6.3/10 from 12 votes
||Release: 18 March 2011 (USA) /
||Director: Phil Johnston,
||Stars: Alia Shawkat, Anne Heche, Christopher Lemon, Ed Helms, Inga R. Wilson, Isiah Whitlock Jr., John C. Reilly, Kurtwood Smith, Mike Birbiglia, Mike O'Malley, Rob Corddry, Seth Morris, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Root, Thomas Lennon
||Synopsis: Tim Lippe (Helms) was the guy people always thought would go places but then he just ... didn't. He's been living in über-sleepy Brown Valley, Wisconsin his whole life, still "pre-engaged" to his 7th grade teacher Macy Vanderhei (Weaver), while selling insurance to protect other people's dreams. But now, Tim's stalled life is about to get a kick-start because, for the first time in his 34 years, he's headed to a "major" metropolis - Cedar Rapids, Iowa - where he must try to save his company at a do-or-die insurance convention that, for him, will be entirely unconventional. From the minute he checks into his hotel with his ancient American Tourister and cummerbund money belt, it's clear Tim has no idea how the modern world really works. He is soon smitten with seductive Nebraskan insurance agent Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Heche) and awed by his experienced roommates, the straight-shooting Ronald Wilkes (Whitlock Jr.) and the suspicious Dean Zeigler (Reilly). Disheartened when he comes ... Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures
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Greetings again from the darkness. I have said many times that comedies
are the most difficult of all film genres since no two people have the
same sense of humor. While many people laughed til they cried during
"The Hangover", others walked out of the theatre or simply had no
interest at all. The same can be said for just about any Mel Brooks
movie, as well as his contemporary, Judd Apatow. What we do know, is
that a comedy's chance for success comes down to its characters, and in
this area, "Cedar Rapids" works like a charm.
Ed Helms (Andy in "The Office") stars as Tim Lippe, the most sheltered,
naive mid-western insurance agent ever captured on film. Lippe lives
and works in Brown Valley, Wisconsin ... the most sheltered, naive
mid-western town ever captured on film. His only real excitement is
found through his "pre-engagement" to his 7th grade teacher played very
well by Sigourney Weaver (probably the most worldly person in Brown
Valley). When an embarrassing accident claims the life of the hot shot
agent in Lippe's firm, the owner (Stephen Root) sends Lippe to the
annual convention in Cedar Rapids. His mission is to win the coveted
2-Diamond Award presented by industry legend Orin Helgesson (a snippy
Since a lone character can't generate many laughs, circumstances at the
convention cause Lippe to find himself roommates with a very noble
Ronald Wilkes (Isiah Whitlock, Jr from "The Wire") and fast-talking
poacher Dean Ziegler (John C Riley). These 3 are joined together by
Nebraska agent Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Anne Heche). Lippe is quickly
introduced to the "real world" by his new friends and after the first
20 minutes of set-up, the lines and settings get funnier and funnier.
As with most comedies these days, the trailer gives away much more than
it should; but, unlike most, it leaves plenty of laughs and situations
for the film. What really makes this work is that all characters are
actually pretty nice people ... they are just a bit exaggerated in
their traits. Lippe is a bit too naive. Wilkes is a bit too uptight.
Ziegler is a bit too obnoxious, and Fox is just a little too lonely and
adventurous. Still, their earnestness is what keeps the film grounded.
Mr. Helms is really a comic force. He has the extraordinary ability to
never hold back or worry how that he might not look cool. Even as the
lead character, he knows when scene-stealer John C Riley should have
the spotlight. This is a tremendous asset for a comic.
I won't give away much, but will warn that some of the humor is crude
... especially some of Riley's rapid-fire one-liners. If you prefer
your humor to be grounded with real people, then you might want to
check this one out. I have only previously known this director, Miguel
Arteta, as the guy responsible for Jennifer Aniston's best screen
performance ("The Good Girl"). Now I look forward to his next project.
Tags for Full Movie
, Anne Heche
, Christopher Lemon
, Ed Helms
, Inga R. Wilson
, Isiah Whitlock Jr.
, John C. Reilly
, Kurtwood Smith
, Mike Birbiglia
, Mike O'Malley
, Rob Corddry
, Seth Morris
, Sigourney Weaver
, Stephen Root
, Thomas Lennon
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