Cedar Rapids
There really are other fish in the sea …

Theatrical Release Date: 02/18/2011
Director: Miguel Arteta
Cast: Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Stephen Root, Kurtwood Smith, Alia Shawkat, Rob Corddry, Mike O’Malley, Sigourney Weaver
Rated: R for crude and sexual content, language and drug use.
Runtime: 1 hour, 27 minutes


What makes you think I’m surprised?

Finally! A movie released in 2011 is actually worth the price of admission! Holy crap!

After six weeks of terrible dreck being released one after the other, a little comedy has come along in the form of director Miguel Arteta’s “Cedar Rapids”. The film concerns itself with a naïve insurance salesman (Ed Helms), sent to a regional corporate conference, who falls in with industry vets (John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr.) and begins to reevaluate his world view.

Make no mistake, the humor is crude, rude, offensive and tasteless … in all the right ways. The combination of screenwriter Phil Johnston, Arteta, and the actors managed to achieve a rarity in comedic films of late: deliver funny lines while also developing the characters.

It isn’t simply about having a joke so witty that any actor could deliver it. The source and delivery of the lines are also key factors into how well the humor is perceived. So while the language is well deserving of the R-rating, I’m perfectly happy with colorful and anatomical words being bandied about like they’re nothing.

Actually, I have to say that I was taken quite by surprise when it came to how much I laughed throughout the film. I was worried the exaggerated traits of Helms and O’Reilly’s characters would wear thin but thanks to their development via the script and the actors, they only became more endearing and engaging.

Though perhaps, the biggest surprise is Anne Heche. She’d fallen off the big screen radar for some time now but is back is fine form. Sporting red hair and a personality to match, she gave the character the right balance of compassion and feistiness. She more than capably kept up with the men in the cast and rounds out a fine ensemble.

“Cedar Rapids” may be a tad bit too much for some people because they’re used to safe comedies but if the language doesn’t put you off, it’s the best film and easiest recommendation I can make in 2011 so far. A 4 out of 5, I can only hope this is a sign that the year’s dismal cinematic start is turning around.

4 out of 5