Cedar Rapids

Rated R 86 min. 2011

At Cedar Rapids’ center: a 34-year-old sunny geek Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) who is convinced that selling insurance is an expression of God’s love. As heartily as he sells that message, you almost begin to believe it. Lippe’s crucible is his company’s annual insurance convention that his blowhard boss Bill (Stephen Root) packs him off to with strict orders to come home with the coveted lucite Two Diamonds Award, the Grammy of Midwestern life insurance. He leaves his beige world of Brown Valley, Wis., for the phantasmagoric Oz of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with its decadent trifecta of hookers, hotel bars, and indoor swimming pools. Giddy at the thrill of flying on an airplane for the first time and interfacing with the big, bad metropolis of Cedar Rapids, Lippe straps himself in for an adventure of scavenger hunts and business-card hand-off cocktail mixers. Lippe has been housed in the same hotel room with his agency’s arch enemy, the client-stealing scumbag his boss warned him about, Dean Ziegler (John C. Reilly). Cedar Rapids’ babe in the woods set-up is hilarious. It’s all just too-too awkward and unfamiliar for poor Lippe, whose first encounter with insurance poobah Orin Helgesson (Kurtwood Smith), the man who has the ability to bequeath the Two Diamonds upon him, in the hotel’s gym locker room is a certifiable spit-take. The straight man is the equally-ribald-in-his-own-way Ronald Wilkes (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), whose infomercial-perfect diction, starched suits, and affable business-ready manner carries a whiff of sadness; he’s a black guy in a white world who’s done everything he can to fit in. Rounding out their happy quartet is the family gal Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Anne Heche) who uses the convention every year as an opportunity to forget she’s tied down. Cedar Rapids gains points for mixing up its very, very rude comedy with a real sense of purpose.

Film Credits

Official Site: www.foxsearchlight.com/cedarrapids

Director: Miguel Arteta

Writer: Phil Johnston

Cast: Sigourney Weaver, John C. Reilly, Alia Shawkat, Rob Corddry, Ed Helms, Anne Heche, Stephen Root, Thomas Lennon, Kurtwood Smith and Isiah Whitlock Jr.

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Cedar Rapids

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