Sunday, August 5, 2012

CEDAR RAPIDS (2011)

Directed By: Miguel Arteta Written By: Phil Johnston Cinematography By: Chuy Chavez Editor: Eric Kissack Cast: Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Thomas Lennon, Stephen Root, Kurtwood Smith, Alia Shawkat, Mike O’Malley, Rob Corddry, Mike Birgiglia Tim Lippe was the guy people always thought would go places but then he just ... didn't. He's been living in ├╝ber-sleepy Brown Valley, Wisconsin his whole life, still "pre-engaged" to his 7th grade teacher Macy Vanderhei , while selling insurance to protect other people's dreams. But now, Tim's stalled life is about to get a kick-start because, for the first time in his 34 years, he's headed to a "major" metropolis - Cedar Rapids, Iowa - where he must try to save his company at a do-or-die insurance convention that, for him, will be entirely unconventional. From the minute he checks into his hotel with his ancient American Tourister and cummerbund money belt, it's clear Tim has no idea how the modern world really works. He is soon smitten with seductive Nebraskan insurance agent Joan Ostrowski-Fox and awed by his experienced roommates... This is a middle of the road type film. It’s concept is quite simple and even when it gets wild it keeps a certain realistic threat. That let’s it stay contained and not become a free for all. Like let’s say THE HANGOVER. At it’s heart it’s even a bit like a frank Capra film with a small town moral nice guy exposed to the big bad evil world. That he is not accustomed to. Finding corruptions in institutions he thought were true, solid and really for the first time letting loose ad having fun. When he has to pay for his actions. His moral center and decency end up saving him. I enjoyed this film for the most part. I was excited to see it, Though I am glad. I didn’t plan for it. Lead Actor Ed Helms has a simple small town guy charm about him. I didn’t see him as a star but more as a dependable supporting character actor. He has that ordinariness but a sharpness that seems to keep him in tune with the material. I like the fact that the film seems more to embrace blue collar small town folk than make fun of them. Which a lot of comedies. Seem to do which comes off more often then not as mean spirited. I have to say this is the best I’ve seen Anne Heche look and action quite a while. She has just the right amount of older professionalism and wild unbridled sexiness that makes her a temptress for our hero, I only wish Isiah Whitlock was in the film more, because he steals every scene he is in while referencing the popular tv show he was on. THE WIRE. The references were apparently in the script before he was cast and decided to keep them in as a in joke for the fans who had watched the show. Sigourney Weaver has more of a cameo role. I’m sure it helped sell more tickets and gave her some work but can say at this point. I never really need to see with a sex scene EVER. John C. Reilly is dependable as always as the wild man of the convention but he makes the character a real one and not so much a one dimensional caricature. He also straightens his in infamous curly hair which is a sight. The film is mostly ho hum It is more of a satisfying rental with a few good laughs GRADE: C+

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