Meet Tim Lippe (Ed Helms), a good hearted, naïve bachelor and insurance salesman from Wisconsin whose only adventure is sleeping with his former school teacher, Macy Vanderhei (Sigourney Weaver). Sure he has a house and a job, but he has little fun or change during his day-to-day life. So when Tim is told he’s going to have to go to an insurance convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to bring back the “Two Diamond,” he’s in for a big surprise.
Cedar Rapids is a whole different world to Tim, and Helms does a great job portraying the awe-struck attitude with each new encounter. When he arrives at his hotel, he meets several other people who are there for the convention, including the one agent he was warned to stay away from: Dean Ziegler (John C. Reilly). Known for stealing clients and his boorish behavior, Dean ends up being Tim’s roommate, along with Ronald Wilkes (Isiah Whitlock Jr.). Inevitably, Dean ends up trying to sway Tim’s goodhearted ways. Reilly plays the role of Dean as only he could. He holds nothing back, and in turn offers a memorable portrayal of a non-stop partier. Whitlock delivers some great lines, and is a nice balance to Reilly’s over-the-top delivery.
Bringing back the “Two Diamond” award is always in the back of Tim’s mind, after all, the guy giving away the award, Orin Helgesson (Kurtwood Smith), frowns upon anything tasteless. Still, when surrounded by a group of individuals like Dean, and the mother/wife Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Anne Heche) who considers the convention her private escape, Tim is bound to find himself in some unusual situations, especially for someone like himself.
The initial enthusiasm Tim has for Cedar Rapids is engaging. After all, he’s fascinated by some of the simplest things. Still, at only 87 minutes, even the most childlike enthusiasm for a hotel and convention can grow tiresome. And truth-be-told I’m not sure if we’re supposed to like some of these characters or not. While “Cedar Rapids,” relies greatly on a fantastic cast (also including Stephen Root, Rob Corddry, Mike O'Malley and Alia Shawkat), it falls short somewhere between a zany weekender comedy, and a subtler film relying on comedic undertones. Had it fully committed one way or the other, I think “Cedar Rapids” would have fared far better. However, that’s not to say it’s not watchable. Again, thanks to the cast and direction, the film provides some memorable moments, and a few laugh-out-loud gags that make it a good late night movie.
VIDEO: "Cedar Rapids" is given a delightful 1.85:1 (1080p) presentation on this Blu-Ray edition. While the nature of the picture doesn't lend itself to a release that will be used to demo the format, the picture looks smooth and clean, with no specks, marks or other print flaws. Colors looked spot-on, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: Crisp, clear (and dialogue-driven) DTS-HD 5.1 presentation.
EXTRAS: “Convention Connection”-In several interviews, the cast talk about the characters and cast.
“Mike O’Malley - Urban Clogger”-is a brief look at Mike O’Malley getting ready for his clogging talent in the film.
“Tweaking in the USA”- is a look at the drug scene from the film.
“Wedding Belles - Crashing a Lesbian Wedding”-a behind-the-scenes look at the scene from the film.
“Top Notch Commercial”- A fake insurance commercial.
“Fox Movie Channel presents Direct Effect with Miguel Arteta and Writer’s Draft with Phil Johnston”-Arteta shares his thoughts about the film, and Johnston discusses writing the film, including his inspiration.
Also included are deleted scenes and a gag reel.
BD LIVE Extras include new, exclusive footage.
Final Thoughts: “Cedar Rapids,” relies greatly on a fantastic cast, but it falls short somewhere between a zany weekender comedy, and a subtler film relying on comedic undertones. The film provides some memorable moments, and a few laugh-out-loud gags that make it a good late night movie.
The Film B