Cedar Rapids is an intimate, fun, and engaging comedy starring Ed Helms, John C Reilly, and Anne Heche. When the top salesman at a small town insurance firm dies suddenly the town’s most sheltered manchild is sent in his stead to the yearly insurance conference. The hijinks ensue when he is forced to bunk with a free whelling, devil may care insurance agent Dean Ziegler, played by John C. Reilly.
The film works as a character study for the actors involved, but is over long and too full of anecdotal plot to make a dynamic story. The actors however, manage to bring the otherwise drab movie a sense of life that is lacking in similar films. Isiah Whitlock and Anne Heche fill in the spectrum of personality between Helms and Reilly perfectly. Heche is incredibly likable in her role, shocking considering how easy it was to abhore her in the last movie I saw her in, the abomination Spread. Isiah Whitlock Jr. is such a highlight for me in this movie. There wasn’t a scene he was in I wasn’t laughing hysterically. He bring’s such an understated cleverness to his performance that it is distinctly noticeable in the tone of the film when he isn’t in the scene. Reilly and Helms, while incredibly funny, didn’t have the best chemistry. Their scenes felt like one upmanship meets self deprecating humor, a combination that just doesn’t work.
The film has a sleep inducing glaze over the film. The director’ dries out every scene with pale colors and over saturated lighting. Congratulations, your film feels indy. If your goal was to depress me before trying to get me to laugh, you succeeded. Miguel Arteta displayed a knack for being indecisive with this film, because he chose not to make any hard decisions. There were a lot of scenes that really needed to go to get the movie motoring and he limply lets the movie saunter along at an overly leisured pace.
Phil Johnston gave the actors a buffet of characterization to feast on, and they deliver in spades. Where his script fails is not trusting his audience to make leaps with the characters and having repetitive and unecessary “adventures” for the growth instead of letting it come from the small moments in the movie. Three quarters into this movie I was asking, “how long is this damn conference?” Arteta should have reigned that in and trimmed down this movie. I fault the director on that one. There was a great movie in that script, the director just gave us a decent one.
While not must see watching, I would give it a viewing if you like any of Helms or Reilly’s other work.
From Fox Home Entertainment:
Follow mild-mannered Tim Lippe as he takes off on an epic adventure to CEDAR RAPIDS, coming to Blu-ray and DVD in a SUPER AWESOME EDITION June 21st from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. This wildly funny and undeniably infectious comedy will have you wanting more of Lippe and his crew, Deanzie, Joan and Ronald as they cause mayhem at the most unconventional business convention of all-time.
CEDAR RAPIDS features an all-star cast including Ed Helms (The Hangover), John C. Reilly (Step Brothers), Anne Heche (TV’s Hung), and Academy Award® nominee and Golden Globe® winner Sigourney Weaver (Avatar). Find additional chaos and laughs in deleted scenes, gag reel, and other extras in the SUPER AWESOME EDITION Blu-ray disc and DVD!
In CEDAR RAPIDS, a naïve small-town Midwesterner (Helms) is sent to represent his company at a regional insurance convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where his mind is blown by the “big city” and he finds himself in the midst of the most unexpected shenanigans.
CEDAR RAPIDS DVD Features:
• Deleted Scenes
o Dinner With Macy
o Song Dedication
o Cart Ride
o Fire Extinguisher Fight
o Goodbye to Bree
o Cabin Extras
• Gag Reel
• Mike O’Malley – Urban Clogger
• Tweaking in the USA
• Wedding Belles – Crashing a Lesbian Wedding
• Top Notch Commercial
CEDAR RAPIDS Blu-ray Disc Features:
All of the DVD features, plus
• Convention Connection
o Tim Lippe
o Dean Ziegler
o Ronald Wilkes
o Joan Ostrowski
o Bill Krogstad
o Orin Helgesson
• Fox Movie Channel Presents: Direct Effect Miguel Arteta
• Fox Movie Channel Presents: Writer’s Draft Phil Johnston
• BD LIVE
o Exclusive: Ed Helms Mad Chopper Skills
• Digital Copy