The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds |


Our network sites | Advanced

Originally published Thursday, February 17, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Movie review

'Cedar Rapids': Nothing first class about this business-trip comedy

A review of "Cedar Rapids" — yet another comedy that's trying too hard to sell something past its date. Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock Jr. star.

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 2 stars

'Cedar Rapids,' with Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr. Directed by Miguel Arteta, from a screenplay by Phil Johnston. 87 minutes. Rated R for crude and sexual content, language and drug use. Several theaters.

There's something about Miguel Arteta's "Cedar Rapids" that makes you feel as if you've already seen it, and in some ways you have — it's yet another comedy that's trying too hard to sell something past its date. Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) is a proud employee of small-town Brown Star Insurance, living in his parents' former home and having a vaguely creepy fling with his former seventh-grade teacher (Sigourney Weaver). (Is it creepy because they're in his childhood bedroom, among his Little League photos? Or because Tim, who looks to be in his 30s, is as childlike and naive as a seventh-grader — or more so?)

Sent by Brown Star to the national insurance convention in Cedar Rapids, Mich., Tim is initially thrilled by the glamour of big-city travel. Coach seats on the plane! An indoor swimming pool at the hotel! Card keys for the hotel-room door! A chance to use traveler's checks! We're supposed to be laughing at the fact that Tim finds the very ordinary convention hotel to be swanky, and it's mean-spirited — not to mention the kind of humor that grows old very quickly. A gang of new insurance-agent friends join Tim — swaggering Deanzie (John C. Reilly), strait-laced Ronald (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), sultry Joan (Anne Heche) — and off we go on a scavenger hunt, an ill-considered romantic liaison, some tacky bathroom scenes and some insurance-related subterfuge.

Though there are a few funny moments here (mostly from Whitlock, who's got a knack for imitation and whose character is obsessed with "The Wire"), "Cedar Rapids" mostly feels like a manic slog, wearing its jokes out early on. You're left noting that Heche here comes off as a poor man's Patricia Clarkson, and that everyone in the heartland seems to be wearing earth tones, and that Reilly's character, who's vivid in the early scenes, is pitched so broadly he's got nowhere to go. Neither, alas, does this movie.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

More Movies

Movie review: 'The Adjustment Bureau': Hats off to a fine fantasy

Movie review: 'Beastly': Fairy-tale misfits who look like models

Movie review: 'Rango': Johnny Depp nails his role as the lizard hero in this wild Western

Movie review: 'Take Me Home Tonight': a big '80s party you may not want to crash

Actor Mickey Rooney tells Congress about abuse

More Movies headlines...

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

No comments have been posted to this article.




AP Video

Entertainment | Top Video | World | Offbeat Video | Sci-Tech