Miguel Arteta’s Cedar Rapids is a comedy about a group of insurance salesmen who use the opportunity to attend an annual convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as a way to escape their doleful existence . . . like Vegas but with corn.
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Affable comedy with a likable cast (especially the always entertaining John C. Reilly at his best), though it is predictable and plays safely within its quirky indie comedy territory. A pleasant enough watch, but only light-weight entertainment.
Imagine what an indie comedy about a naive, Middle America insurance salesman might look like. Cedar Rapids is that cliché in some ways. And yet, the film balances the crude with the sincere with honest finesse. It ends as honest as its main character and just as likable. Maybe the film is ultimately slight but it still entertains with warmth.
I'll go out on a limb here and say that people won't like this movie. They'll go in expecting The Office meets The Hangover, and they'll be dead wrong. It's more like The Office meets Fear and Loathing, albeit an edited for TV one. Helms shows true depth and range as an actor, and Reilly, Heche, and Whitlock provide perfect support. Whitlock has a wonderful running joke about his role in the "HBO program The Wire."
Ok. So I'm waiting in the cinema for the surprise film at the Dublin Film Festival, hoping desperately that it would be 'Pina' by Wim Wenders. When it turned out the was this, I was naturally disappointed it wasn't Pina. I purposely stopped watching films like this because they are not my cup of tea, so when I watched this I was appalled. Each to their own I guess, but "toilet humour' is inexcusable in my book.
This movie was very funny. The characters were well-drawn, and the entire cast brought their A-game. The jokes were not forced- Arteta has a talent for integrating them seamlessly into the story. I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to.
Mostly great just for the casting: Ed Helms from the Office, John C. Reilly, Alia Shawkat from Arrested Development, and Sigourney Weaver from (of course) the Alien movies, not to mention Stephen Root from Office Space.