Tim Lippe (Helms) is an insurance salesman for BrownStar Insurance who has taken a back burner to the company’s star salesman for years. When the co-worker dies, the boss asks Tim to step in at the annual ASMI conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent their office for the prestigious double diamond award.
Tim, given precise instructions for his trip, including the one person to avoid (Reilly), enters Cedar Rapids with a mix of excitement and nervousness. His intentions are pure, but after meeting his conference comrades Ronald, Joan, and Deanzy (Whitlock, Jr., Heche, Reilly), he ventures over to the dark side, per se. Indulging in drinking excessive cream sherry shots, recreational drugs, and philandering, Tim’s chances of bringing home the coveted award appear unlikely. Meanwhile, he discovers their previous award winnings by the star salesman were accomplished with behavior unfit for a good Christian company like BrownStar.
Tim must decide if he should follow the boss’s orders to get the award, by any means necessary, or leave Cedar Rapids with his integrity intact, his newfound friends, and his super awesome new attitude.
Strengths: Comedic Cohesion Among the Cast
Ed Helms once again shines as the socially and sexually awkward Tim Lippe. From his rejected promise ring proposal to former grade school teacher lover (Weaver) to an uncomfortable locker room encounter with the ASMI Vice President, it’s hard to do anything but feel for this character.
John C. Reilly steals the show as the conference rebel Deanzy, whose one liners are perfectly delivered and memorable.
Whitlock, Jr.’s character Ronald impersonates Omar from HBO’sThe Wire, which is even funnier since he plays a character on the show in real life.
Weaknesses: Slightly depressing, Trailer letdown, Oddly cast females
The reality of this film is that many people have crappy, unfulfilling lives, and that even a work trip to Cedar “Crapids” provides the short-term escape needed to survive one’s own existence. To be honest, this reminder was nothing short of depressing.
Since the trailer for Cedar Rapids made the rounds about a month ago, there was no one more eager to see this film than this cinephile. The producers did a great job of making a trailer that enticed you to see this movie. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case, all the best parts of the movie were in the trailer. It makes it hard to get excited during comedic moments in the film when you already know what the characters are going to do or say.
Lastly, although Sigourney Weaver was awesome in her role as Tim’s cradle-robbing pseudo-girlfriend, the jury’s still out on whether Anne Heche and Alia Shawkat were the best picks for their female roles.
Cedar Rapids doesn’t do much to promote the city as a vacation destination, but it does make you wish your company would send you on a business trip in the near future.
Although it may not initially seem like a comic powerhouse cast, this team plays well together and provides for a solid 80+ minutes of cinematic entertainment.
Cedar Rapids opens today, Friday 2/11/2011. Click here to check the Westword for Denver metro showtimes near you. After you’ve seen it, run to Lodos and ask for a round of Lippe shots (cream sherry).
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