Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
The Farewell To Middle-earth Issue
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe: Get 12 Issues For £25
Buy the perfect Christmas present this year
Farewell To Middle-earth
Full details of our Peter Jackson-edited issue
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
Annie
2 Star Empire Rating
Theory Of Everything, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Bringing Tibet Home
3 Star Empire Rating
Kon-Tiki
4 Star Empire Rating
Enemy
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Leviathan
5 Star Empire Rating
Le Jour Se Lève
5 Star Empire Rating
Tony Benn: Will And Testament
5 Star Empire Rating
Nightcrawler
5 Star Empire Rating
Babadook, The
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.

SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS

SAVE UP TO 69% GET 12 ISSUES FOR ONLY £25
Get the best seat in the house by subscribing to the world's biggest movie magazine today. Save up to 69% and every month you'll get exclusive subscriber-only covers, access to the biggest stars and the best news, reviews and behind-the-scenes reports straight from the set. Click here to find the perfect offer for you


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Review Of The Year: 10 Best Soundtracks Of 2014
The scores and OSTs to add to your playlist

Watch: Night At The Museum's Cast Share Their Favourite Robin Williams Performance
Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson and Ben Kingsley pay tribute to the actor

Watch: Jack O'Connell And Luke Treadaway Talk Unbroken
On POWs, panto and how to name your bomber

Review Of 2014: The 15 Best Cameos Of The Year
Our favourite one-scene movie-stealers

8 Things You Can Learn From The BFI's Star Wars Exhibition
The original crawl, a 'grotesque' villain and a very different princess

Review Of The Year: 40 Worst Posters Of 2014
One-sheets that you'd rather not have on your wall

Hobbit Q&As: Ian McKellen On Finally Saying Goodbye And Farewell To Gandalf The Grey
Read our exclusive Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies interviews

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

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 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month 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)