3 May 2011
CEDAR RAPIDS- Review
As the story goes, Tim Lippe is an altruistic insurance salesman who gets booted up to the big time when his company's golden boy passes away in an unfortunate auto-erotic accident. Anyhoo, he's dispatched by his boss to the industry's annual conference and back-slapping jamboree in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He's taken under the wings of three veterans as he's pressured to win the industry gold standard, the prestigious Two Diamonds award.
Not to get stuck on that trailer reel, but it contained a preview for The Hangover Part II, in which leading man Ed Helms reprises his role and (probably) the entire script from the first film in a different location. If Cedar Rapids did take time to get to the screen, its progress was indubitably eased by his success in The Hangover, and so the film has a tenuous link with Zach Galifianakis' recent dramedy, It's Kind of a Funny Story, strengthened by the fact that I found this film just as incidental as the other.
For instance, Tim is pretty much mothered by Macy, the woman who taught him in 7th grade, played by Sigourney Weaver. She's also his fuck buddy, which isn't so much an Oedipal thing as the prolonged realisation of his adolescent fantasising. Later, his small-town outlook is reminiscent of James Stewart in... well, a lot of James Stewart movies. He doesn't drink or swear until he gets to the conference. He's such a child-like character- not like Russell Brand's man-child version of Arthur but genuinely regressive- that it ultimately does nothing to swing the pendulum back the other way.
Tim is transparently a character, and although you hopefully like him, it's impossible to connect his humanity with an alternative to the sharky portrayals of insurance men elsewhere in this very film. John C. Reilly has his fingers in many pies here, working on this indie-cred comedy while playing a similar character as in his collaborations with Will Ferrell. As the boorish Dean Ziegler, he's effectively there to deliver the funnies while Helms is the straight man. As with many of Reilly's performances, he's deeper than he appears, but the plot threads of the character's divorce and alcoholism are broached and then forgotten.
Cedar Rapids is now playing in selected cinemas nationwide.
If you've seen Cedar Rapids, why not share your comments below?
I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.