Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cedar Rapids (2011)

Directed by Miguel Arteta. Based on recommendations from others, I thought this was going to be a lot better than it was but it had some good laughs in it. Unfortunately, the best laugh in this come from the fact that -- despite remaining a complete delight -- John C. Reilly has gradually transformed into a cross between the impression of John C. Reilly regularly performed by comedian Paul F. Tompkins and underrated Warner Bros. cartoon character Pete Puma.

The story in this flick is that insurance salesman Tim (Ed Helms) is forced to ride an airplane for the first time toward the bright lights and bustling streets of Cedar Rapids for a convention where he hopes to win the Twin Diamond award for his agency. To cut to the chase without revealing anything, symbolically, the Twin Diamond represents the pair of balls all men must grow to get through life with any honor and productivity.

From there, the thing writes itself. Or doesn't, unfortunately. Thank goodness for appealing actors: in addition to Helms and Reilly, Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Root, a very funny guy I didn't know named Isiah Whitlock Jr. who I will stay on the lookout for, and a brief but excellent appearance by Rob Corddry.

Not recommended if you haven't yet seen Miguel Arteta's 2009 movie, "Youth in Revolt," which may or may not be reviewed somewhere on this blog but either way is far better. If you have seen "Youth in Revolt," this would be good for a Saturday or Sunday morning or if you see movies while you exercise. That way you're not wasting critical movie watching time on it, plus one of its strengths is that, since it takes place in the midwest, most of the cast is real doughy, so you feel good about yourself.

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