The film is directed by Miguel Arteta (Youth in Revolt, The Good Girl) and it stars Ed Helms. Helms is supported by John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, and a fantastic Isiah Whitlock Jr. This script was on 2009’s blacklist, a list of screenplays that while adored are still unproduced, and after watching, you can see why.The plot from Wikipedia is…“To call insurance agent Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) “naive” is a gross understatement. He’s never left his small Wisconsin hometown. He’s never stayed at a hotel. And he’s never experienced anything like Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Sent to the “major metropolis” to represent his company at the annual insurance convention, Tim is soon distracted by three convention veterans (John C. Reilly, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock Jr.) who will show him the ropes and push his boundaries. For a guy who plays everything by the book, this convention will be anything but conventional.”This movie is both hilarious and touching at the same time. Helms character Lippe is in his first “big” city and he really has never had a chance to “grow up” in his life, so Cedar Rapids is his chance to experience the world. As you can imagine Lippe is in wayyy over his head and has life changing experiences.First off, do not judge this movie by the trailer. It does the film no justice at all. The movie is a dirty and raunchy comedy, but at its core it has a great heart. Ed Helms plays Tim in this classic “fish out of water” story. Ed Helms is great in the lead and I completely fell in love with his character. Helms plays it so touchingly that you can’t help but root for him through the entire movie. Helms is great in the lead, but it is his supporting characters that take the movie to a new level.Normally I am not the biggest fan of John C Reilly, and find his shtick a little boring, along with Will Ferrell. However, in Cedar Rapids, Riley gives a terrific performance. His character, Dean Ziegler, is crude, crass, and downright dirty. As I said, you cannot tell how dirty this man is just from the trailers. Not only does he have the best laughs, he plays a great character. Ziegler is a womanizing dirty man, but you can also see that he is a tortured soul and Riley does this ever so slightly, but effectively.The other two leads are Anne Heche, where has she been for 5 years?, and Isiah Whitlock Jr., of the fantastic TV series The Wire. Heche plays Joan who goes from nice and sweet, to flirty and dirty. I really enjoyed Heche and hope to see her a little more in the future. The real memorable cast member is Isiah Whitlock Jr., who plays Ronald. Ronald is the dorkiest black man to grace the Midwest. Every one of Isiah’s lines leaves you in stitches and the biggest laugh of the movie comes when the movie gets meta and Ronald makes a reference to The Wire.Quick other cast notes. Kurtwood Smith shows up for some great laughs, he was the father on That 70’s Show and made that show great “dumbass”. It is also a little strange seeing Alia Shawkat show up as a prostitute. You probably know her as Maeby from Arrested Development. Guess I still see her as a 15-year-old girl.The look and style of this movie is very straight forward. I saw the clean look very reflective of Tim’s personality. Tim is an everyman, so the movie looks like an “everymovie”. This is not a negative at all though. I found everyone on the crew seemed on there game. Editing, Cinematography, Set Design, and everyone else does their job to success, no one stands out as bad.In the end this is a small, touching, sweet, and heartwarming movie; yet at the same time being filthy and hilarious. I think this movie is in limited release, and most likely it will be a small movie and not expand too far, but you should really see it in theaters or at the very least DVD. You will not regret it.
I give this an 8 out of 10 / B+
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