Cedar Rapids (The Super Awesome Edition)

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Rating: R

Ed Helms as Tim Lippe
John C. Reilly as Dean Ziegler
Anne Heche as Joan Ostrowski-Fox
Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Ronald Wilkes
Stephen Root as Bill Krogstad
Kurtwood Smith as Orin Helgesson
Alia Shawkat as Bree
Rob Corddry as Gary
Mike O’Malley as Mike Pyle
Sigourney Weaver as Macy Vanderhei
Inga R. Wilson as Gwen Lemke
Mike Birbiglia as Trent
Seth Morris as Uncle Ken

Directed by Miguel Arteta

Special Features:
Deleted Scenes
Gag Reel
Mike O’Malley – Urban Clogger
Tweaking In The USA
Wedding Belles – Crashing a Lesbian Wedding
Top Notch Commercial
Theatrical Trailer

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 87 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“He’s a small town guy… headed for some big-time trouble.

The funniest business trip of all time gets even crazier with the Super-Awesome Edition of ‘Cedar Rapids’ – more hysterical footage, more outrageous shenanigans and more two-diamond fun!

Ed Helms (‘The Hangover’ 1 & 2) and John C. Reilly (‘Step Brothers’) lead an all-star cast in the comedy that shows what can happen… when insurance agents go wild! Shy and naive Tim Lippe (Helms) ventures to the ‘big city’ of Cedar Rapids for a convention and ends up crossing paths with the ultimate party animal (Reilly). Before long, Tim is crashing parties, skinny-dipping in the hotel pool and being seduced by a sexy soccer mom. And if Tim can survive the weekend, he might just change his life forever! ”

“Cedar Rapids” is rated R for crude and sexual content, language and drug use.

The Movie:
In his very first full-on starring role in a film, Ed Helms plays Tim Lippe (pronounced “lippy”), the second best salesman at the Blue Star Insurance in the small town of Brown Valley, Wisconsin where everybody knows him. Even so, he’s allows himself to be an underachiever, his only relationship being a once-a-week affair with his elementary school teacher (Sigourney Weaver). When the agency’s top salesman dies suddenly, Tim is sent to the ASMI insurance conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent them in trying to achieve the coveted Two Diamonds rating. Once in Cedar Rapids, Tim rooms with two ASMI vets with disparate personalities, the conservative Ronald Wilkes (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) and the wild and outspoken Dean Ziegler (John C. Reilly). Even though Tim has his goal in sight, the many distractions to be found in Cedar Rapids may throw his plans off course.

While Ed Helms has already proven a number of times he’s a comedian who’s genuinely likeable and clearly should be moving in the direction of his “Office”-mate Steve Carell with more lead roles, his character in “Cedar Rapids” doesn’t seem to deviate from Andy very much. He’s a really nice guy but super-naive about the world and to him, Cedar Rapids is the “big city” full of corruption and sin. Reilly’s character is the epitome of that and though Tim was told by his boss to stay away from him, that doesn’t happen and Tim ends up on wilder adventures as the convention progresses.

While Midwestern insurance salesman may not sound like the most exciting characters on which to base a comedy, there¬ís a lot of humor to be found in the drunken activities that these particular insurance guys get into both on the clock and off during this conference, mainly due to the shenanigans instigated by Dean. Reilly’s character is so outrageous he effortlessly steals scenes from the film’s actual star, but the real breakout star that few will forget is Isaiah Whitlock as the straight-laced African-American insurance salesman who just has such a funny way of delivering a line that he really stands out as something we haven’t really seen before.

The ladies certainly seem to like Tim’s naivety, not just his significantly older girlfriend (Weaver), but Anne Heche’s character, one of the few women salesman at the conference, takes a shine to him, as does Alia Shawkat, a local prostitute who takes Tim out for the night of his life.

Unfortunately, the main plot involving Tim’s goal to get the Two Diamonds just isn’t strong enough to keep the movie interesting when it gets back to the story at hand in the third act, which is also where things get somewhat predictable. It also seems to run out of ways to make the audience laugh so it goes for a rather obvious opportunity to put Tim in a fish-out-of-water situation of a crazy party where he does drugs and gets into a fight.

The film feels somehow disjointed with Helms’ more downbeat scenes being kind of dull, then switching gears into over-the-top moments with Reilly. Certainly the writing is fine, but the film just doesn’t seem to flow, which is surprising considering how well director Miguel Arteta has handled similarly erratic character-based material in the past.

“Cedar Rapids” should offer more than enough laughs to be worthwhile and if you’re a fan of Helms or Reilly, neither of them disappoint, but with so many strong elements, we were hoping for something a bit more memorable.

The Extras:
This DVD has a decent selection of bonus features. You’ll find standard fare like a gag reel, deleted scenes, and trailers. There’s also an entire featurette covering Mike O’Malley and his clogging scene from the talent show.