By Mike Woody
The Hangover was such a huge hit several years ago and it was just a matter of time before we were deluged with a string of R-rated raunchy comedies. Most of them have been unforgettable, Cedar Rapids is not.
Ed Helms (the guy who lost his tooth in The Hangover) plays Tim Lippe a small town Wisconsin insurance agent. He works at an award-winning insurance company and when his boss has a conflict, Lippe is asked to attend the annual convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
He is warned in advance to stay away from a certain group of people and guess who he immediately falls in with once he hits C.R.? This group is made of up a very stoic, deep voiced black man (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), a working woman (Anne Heche) and the ringleader, Dean Ziegler, played in a crazy off-the-wall performance, by John C. Reilly!
Director Miguel Arteta and screenwriter Phil Johnson craft a tale of an innocent, corrupted in many, many ways, most of them very funny.
In his heart though, Lippe is a very nice man and a very honest soul. He has a wild and crazy weekend but it takes a toll on his conscience. He also finds that the corporate world is not all it seems to be.
Cedar Rapids is a very funny, though admittedly very raunchy, movie about a nice man who survives a weekend of wacky fun. The characters no matter how exaggerated all have a good basis in reality and the actors are pitch perfect. Reilly is allowed to just go nuts and it is fun to watch. Heche brings an honesty and tenderness to a character who might not deserve it. To make her character sympathetic is quite a task.
I found Cedar Rapids to be very funny but also heartwarming. This is one of the rare finds of an otherwise brutal first quarter of 2011. Just remember that it is an R-rated comedy and it earns that rating and then some.