Monday, March 21, 2011

Cedar Rapids review

Seemingly forgotten in the shitpile that is the later Winter/early Spring releases, Cedar Rapids is actually a very funny, very charming film that really showcases what Ed Helms can do. He certainly proves that he can lead a film, but what he really does best is letting his other actors shine just as much as him. John C. Reilly was fantastic and Anne Heche was actually kinda sexy. With a great cast, solid direction by Miguel Arteta, you can see why Alexander Payne (Sideways) was originally drawn towards directing this film.

Cedar Rapids is about a small town midwestern insurance salesman who gets sent to Cedar Rapids, Iowa as part of a convention where he is fixing to win the "Two Diamonds Award" for his insurance company. Over the course of a couple of days, this naive small town gentleman will finally start to grow up and see things from a new perspective. Ed Helms is perfect as the naive small town salesman. You really believe Ed Helms as this character. You could never see George Clooney or any other big leading man in this role but Helms just has that type of sensibility. Anyone can see that from his work on The Office.

He is almost out-acted by John C. Reilly, who proves once again just how talented he is as both comedic co-lead and as a character actor. Reilly can do a role like this in his sleep, he's so good. He gives the film an extra bit of energy which is needed in a film about small town insurance salesmen. His character, Dean Ziegler, isn't your typical jerky rival insurance salesman. In a film like this, you would kind of expect the lead character to have a foil that he'd have to compete against, but Dean Ziegler is thankfully a three-dimensional character and that actually makes his little quips that much funnier and more relatable.

This is a nice film to watch in the beginning of a year where the films are usually lacking in any kind of substance and/or humor. This film has both and it's unfortunate that it's not really being championed by Fox Searchlight, a company that has great taste in film, but they too often give their films such a slow rollout that by the time it's finally released in your area, everyone else has forgotten about the film. So if this film happens to be playing in your area, I would definitely recommend it. It deserves to be seen by more people. It's funny without being too stupid, it's raunchy without being gross, it's vulgar without being offensive. It's just a really fun comedy.

Rating: 8/10

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