Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Ed Helms
John C. Reilly
Anne Heche.
Directors
Miguel Arteta.
Screenwriters
Phil Johnston.
Running Time
87 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Violette
4 Star Empire Rating
Draft Day
3 Star Empire Rating
Dolphin Tale 2
3 Star Empire Rating
Filmed In Supermarionation
4 Star Empire Rating
Luna
2 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
Nightcrawler
5 Star Empire Rating
Babadook, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating

Cedar Rapids
Workcoms: the new romcoms


submit to reddit


Plot
Insurance greenhorn Tim Lippe (Helms) is ordered by his boss to head to the town of Cedar Rapids, where a crucial award is up for grabs. But his good intentions start to slip away once he meets a trio of veteran salesmen, who lure him into a heady world of sex, drugs and cream sherry.


Review
Cedar Rapids
Of all the meta moments meted out in 2011, it’s unlikely any will top the one near the end of Cedar Rapids. Buttoned-up black insurance salesman Ron, having just revealed a more gangsta side to his personality, turns to his colleagues, grins and delivers a pitch-perfect impersonation of Omar from HBO series The Wire. The meta bit? Ron’s played by Isiah Whitlock Jr., the actor famous for portraying Senator Clay “Shiiiiiiiiiiit” Davis, in, yes, The Wire.

The gag is silly. It’s out-there. It’s very funny. And so, for the most part, is this low-budget, high-striking comedy of embarrassment. It’s a vehicle for a post-Hangover Ed Helms, who stars as nerdy office drone Tim Lippe, a man who’s never so much as stayed in a hotel before he arrives in Cedar Rapids for the annual insurance convention. He expects a sleepy burgh; instead, he finds a place seething with debauchery and corruption. Like Alexander Payne’s Sideways, the warm and breezy tone of which this emulates, the deeply unpromising set-up is turned to the film’s advantage. There’s a charming triviality to the shenanigans that ensue, as various factions compete to win the 2 Diamonds award, an item which truly puts the ‘guff’ in MacGuffin.

It’s Animal House redone with middle-aged insurance folk: Kurtwood Smith’s preening, chicken-necked president subs for Dean Wormer, while John C. Reilly’s party boy Dean Ziegler ferociously Blutos up the joint. Reilly is a live-wire force, his hair slicked down and eyes blazing with Bacchanalian zest, the polar opposite of his sadsack turn in last year’s Cyrus. He’s magnificent, but miraculously doesn’t hog the show. Instead, fun moments and peppy lines are doled out generously to all: Anne Heche, as a tattooed hottie harbouring a few secrets; Sigourney Weaver, as Tim’s maternal fiancée; Office Space’s Stephen Root, as Tim’s perspiry boss; and more besides. It’s fun just to watch the characters rap, to the point that the actual plot starts to feel like an intrusion.

There’s a familiarity to much of Cedar Rapids, from Helms’ beleaguered hero (the indignities are less grandiose than those in The Hangover, but no less humiliating) to the Hooker With A Heart Of Gold™ who hovers on the action’s fringes. But the film is so likable that it doesn’t just feel fresh. It feels refreshing.


Verdict
One of those sunny-natured indie comedies that comes out of nowhere to put a smile on your face.


Reviewed by Nick de Semlyen

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Hateful Eight - The Story So Far
We delve into the short but tangled history of Quentin Tarantino’s latest

Gallery: Unseen Star Wars Poster Concept Artwork
JW Rinzler takes us through a history of the franchise in jaw-dropping art

The Future Of Film: Lasers Will Save 3D (If Your Cinema Is Big Enough)
Big will be beautiful in the brave new world of frickin' laser beam projection

The Bond Girls Who Made It Big
The actresses who overcame the curse of 007 to forge successful careers

The Future Of Film: A Woman Will Direct Star Wars
No longer a men’s club, Hollywood is going to start opening its doors...

The Empire Podcast #130: Interviews With Rosamund Pike, Lee Child And Antoine Fuqua
The Gone Girl star, Jack Reacher author and The Equalizer director pop in for a chat

The 50 Greatest Voice Performances In Movies
Who has the most talented tonsils in town?

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)