Cedar Rapids is the latest film from Miguel Arteta, whose previous films include ‘Youth In Revolt‘ and The Good Girl. Insurance agent Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) is a naive insurance salesman who is sent to represent his company at the annual Insurance convention. Having never left his small hometown he has a naive outlook on things, having not really had what amounts to life experience. He is soon shown the ropes by some convention veterans (John C. Reily, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock), that pushes him past his comfort zone and out of his shell.
Cedar Rapids continues the same comedy line of Arteta’s previous films of quirky and contemporary characters, with dark humor. Given some over the top situations, it never actually steps the mark turning in to broad slapstick comedy, but still retains a certain amount of reality.
Ed Helms is good as the naive small town guy, pretty much though playing the same character as Andy Bernard from The American Office. There is an inherent empathy in his manner adding believability to his naivety.
John C Reilly provides most of the best humor as the incredibly vulgar Dean Ziegler. He is great at being an obnoxious drunk, but of the variety that would probably be a good laugh on a night out. Anne Heche, as the the seductive Joan Ostrowski-Fox, provided good chemistry between her and Ed Helms. Whilst Isiah Whitlock’s (Ronald Wilke) humor mostly involved jokes that he’s the guy from the Wire (remember the State Senator Clay Davis who says “sheeeeeeeittt”), though his monotone delivery is suitably adapted for the part and provides some good moments for John C Reily to bounce off. His character and Lippe’s share the same ideals.
Cedar Rapids manages to fall somewhere between Up In The Air and Office Space. It is a coming of age story of a grown up man. It is an odd one to judge as it is part over the top comedy and part drama, and the two never quite see eye to eye. It has a ham-fisted moral compass, which lead me to slightly lack engagement. But, overall I found it to be an enjoyable film.
Movie Rating: 3.5/5