Sunday, February 13, 2011


Still from Cedar Springs
Miguel Arteta, the Director who has brought us genius in titles like Chuck & Buck, The Good Girl and Youth in Revolt, consistently brings out the best in his Actors and truly Cedar Rapids is no exception to his track record. 

Tim (Ed Helms) is a tightly-wound and goofy Insurance Salesman who is sent to represent his company, BrownStar Insurance, at an annual Awards Convention held in Cedar Springs, Iowa.  His employer has won the prestifious Double Diamond Award three years consecutively.  Under the gun from his Boss Bill (Stephen Root) to nab the Award again, Tim is on a mission to persuade Association President Olgen (Kurtwood Smith) that his company is deserving of the win.

Paired with some veteran Insurance Salesmen in his Hotel Room as Roommates, potty-mouthed Dean (John C. Reilly) and Straight Man Ronald (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), we soon find Tim breaking out of his shell, while befriending the flirtatious Joan (Anne Heche).  Together, the four of them venture on some wild times, but will Tim's unleashed antics cost his company the coveted Double Diamond Award

Upon watching Cedar Rapids, it is v. clear to the eye that the Ensemble Cast here had a blast filming this Movie.  They have a wonderful working chemistry, which accounts for much of the fun for us.  Reilly in particular goes out on a limb taking many shocking comedic risks in many a brilliant one-liner.  Heche who hasn't delivered in quite some time on the Big Screen is fantastically funny as a Seductress in pursuit of some fun with TimSigourney Weaver, despite appearing in v. little of the Film, is deliciously funny as Tim's former Teacher-slash-Mother Figure-slash-Lover.  The true Star though is The Hangover's Helms who fearlessly transforms into his character, experiencing his pain, his distrust and naïveté.  Helms channels his best Steve Carrell circa The 40 Year-Old Virgin and becomes a new Man through it all.  A Talent ignored for far too long.

Fox Searchlight's Cedar Rapids doesn't aim high particularly, but what ensues here is a hilarious 80-plus minutes of a Sleeper Hit.   Grade: A-

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