Title: Cedar Rapids
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Miguel Arteta
Starring: Ed Helms, John C. Reilly
Runtime: 1 hour 26 minutesWhat It Is: Tim Lippe (Helms) works for Brownstar Insurance. The company’s biggest hitter, Roger Lemke (Tom Lennon) has brought home the coveted, “Two Diamonds” award 4 years running. The “Two Diamonds” award is an award that is given to the insurance company who exemplifies excellence and a “Christian” type atmosphere. It is given every year at a regional conference in Cedar Rapids, IA.It is found out that Roger has died, due to an “accident” and Lippe is being sent to replace him, in hopes that he can take home the award for the fifth year. But before he goes, he is given Roger’s list of people to stay away from, and people who would be good to hang out with. On the list, is Ronald Wilkes (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.), who we find out is his roomate. The one person he has to stay away from? Dean Ziegler (Reilly), his other roomate. Tim must now find a way to bring home the “Two Diamonds” by being as good as Roger, and not get distracted by Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Anne Heche).
What We Think: Ever heard of the actual place, Cedar Rapids? It’s like never hearing of Atlanta, GA. This movie makes the name stand out even more, and after watching it, you’ll wonder the same thing….has anyone else heard of this movie? It’s not in a bad way, of course! Cedar Rapids gives the filmwatcher many many pleasantries in it’s hour and a half runtime, including some raunchy, slapstick and observational humor.The screenplay was written by Phil Johnston, a relatively unknown screenwriter. However, this script made the “Blacklist” in 2009. The “Blacklist” is a list of popular, yet unproduced screenplays…in other words, you could say “underrated screenplays”. You have two selling points when it comes to Cedar Rapids. Firstly, you have the scenery, I hear it’s a rather quaint setting. Secondly, you have two actors who have gained major notoriety within the past couple years.Ed Helms, gained major publicity due to his performance in The Hangover, and his recurring character, “Andy Bernard” on NBC’s hit show, The Office. John C. Reilly is immediately brought to your head as Will Ferrell’s brother in the classic comedy, Step Brothers. It’s funny that Step Brothers gets mentioned though. While watching the film, I seemed to get the taste of the flick a little bit throughout. Funny catchlines and phrases, Reilly’s classic demeanor and comedic overtones shined from the second he was on screen to the second the film was over. The one thing I loved about this one, was that they didn’t overuse him. They didn’t overbear you with Reilly. They made use of him in such big ways, that he needed limited screen time. His character was loveable to the point where if you saw him for 5 minutes, you wouldn’t need to see him for another 15. They made those 5 minutes worth it. Other actors that made appearances in this one include: Sigourney Weaver, Rob Corddry, Kurtwood Smith and Alia Shawkat.
Our Grade: B+, A terrific indie feel made the movie feel like it was a well-kept secret. Almost as though it was a privilege to watch it. It isn’t without it’s flaws, and there weren’t many. The “Fab 4” make their chemistry known, and work so very well together, that it’s hard not to love them. This is a great date movie, if you want a good laugh.