Today: April 14, 2024

Cedar Rapids

It’s probably fair to describe Ed Helms’ new comedy as a good, old-fashioned big tuna-out-of-water story, seeing as most audience members will know him as nerdy, office geek Andy Bernard from The US Office who taunts his co-workers with tuna references; either that or as the guy who loses a tooth in The Hangover. While Helms was one of the few bright moments in an otherwise repetitive sequel to the latter, Cedar Rapids gives him a whole film to star in, and it’s much funnier for it.

It’s probably fair to describe Ed Helms’ new comedy as a good, old-fashioned big tuna-out-of-water
story, seeing as most
audience members will know him as nerdy, office geek Andy Bernard from The US Office who taunts his co-workers with tuna references;
either that or as the guy who loses a tooth in The Hangover. While Helms was
one of the few bright moments in an otherwise repetitive sequel to the latter,
Cedar Rapids gives him a whole film to star in, and it’s much funnier for it.

Helms plays insurance agent Tim Lippe, sent by his boss to a conference in Cedar Rapids to win the
coveted Two Diamonds award for the fourth year running. A nerdy but diligent
worker, Lippe arrives determined to please his employers, but the riotous trio of John C Reilly‘s Dean Ziegler, Anne Heche‘s
foxy Joan and Isiah Whitlock Jr‘s wise Ron show Tim the true path
of enlightenment, and just what his corrupt predecessor did to win the
prize.

Cue plenty of drunken mayhem as Lippe goes from geek to chic in hours, his morals and ethics tested as
he chases that illustrious award and the approval of conference organiser
Orin Helgesson (Kurtwood Smith).

It should come as no surprise to find
Alexander Payne’s producer credit tucked away on this quirky number. It certainly shares both Sideways and Election’s affectionate
look at the male psyche under pressure, while also heading into
deep Midwest Schmidt country as a backdrop. Although
bawdy at times, the film benefits from some terrific performances. Reilly keeps
just the right side of humorous rather than irritating; Heche is an unexpected
tease, while Whitlock plays on his Wire status with enough knowing enthusiasm that he
nearly steals the show.

However that honour falls to Tim Lippe himself, for Helms anchors the film with a warm, everyman portrayal,
guiding the others when their moral compass slips. Skating around possible mental health
issues, Lippe is more nerd than weird, although it’s fair to say that a man who
falls in love with anything with breasts in a second, fails to recognise a
prostitute’s advances and has no idea how hotel check-in’s work might need to
get out once in a while. However, Helms keeps things flowing smoothly, even when Reilly and co upset the
group’s inner harmony.

No doubt some will
find it a little too cheesy; a bit too predictable, and they’d be
right. But
getting out of the office is good
for us all at some point,
especially if you’re
going to be a wiser person on your return.

To Buy Cedar Rapids on DVD Click Here or on Blu-Ray Click Here

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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