Film Review: Ed Helms, John C. Reilly Find the Heart in ‘Cedar Rapids’

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CHICAGO – It is great to witness a star being born. Ed Helms, who so memorably stole the show in “The Hangover,” breaks out even further with a career defining performance as Tim Lippe in the warm and funny new comedy, “Cedar Rapids.” John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver and Isiah Whitlock Jr. lend essential support. Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

Helms plays an insurance salesman, a lifer in a small town branch office who truly cares about his job. The spirit he has developed because of this love becomes a life force that is about to infiltrate an insurance association gathering and change everything, even though he personally wants no change in his life.

Tim Lippe gets the assignment as a last minute fill-in, because the star salesman of the branch has been found dead, in a compromising position. His mission is to secure the two-diamond rating for the branch from the association president (Kurtwood Smith), under the watchful speed dial of the owner (Stephen Root), who is stuck at his daughter’s wedding. Taking his first airplane ride, Tim Lippe bids adieu to his lover, his ex-junior high teacher Macy (Sigourney Weaver), and heads to the rough environs of a cookie-cutter hotel in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Arriving at the convention, he makes friends with a “party girl” outside the hotel named Bree (Alia Shawkat), and shares a suite with Ronald (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) and Dean (John C. Reilly). Tim has been warned to stay away from Dean by his boss, and his suite mate proves the warning effective by his profane, boorish behavior. Rounding out Tim’s convention pals is Joan (Anne Heche), who uses her time away from home for a little fun.

Ronald, Tim, Dean and Joan form a “Wizard of Oz” style fab four who must navigate the yellow brick road of business and personal morality. During their journey they will encounter hypocrisy, duplicity, lust and even some integrity. Just another day in paradise.

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Cedar Rapids”

“Cedar Rapids” has a limited release in Chicago on February 11th. See local listings for theaters and showtimes. Featuring Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Sigourney Weaver, Alia Shawkat and Kurtwood Smith. Screenplay by Phil Johnson, directed by Miquel Arteta. Rated R. Read the Cedar Rapids interviews with Ed Helms by clicking here, and director Miguel Arteta by clicking here.

Formidable Foursome: John C. Reilly (Dean), Ed Helms (Tim), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (Ronald) and Anne Heche (Joan) in ‘Cedar Rapids’
John C. Reilly (Dean), Ed Helms (Tim), Isiah Whitlock Jr. (Ronald) and Anne Heche (Joan) in ‘Cedar Rapids’
Photo credit: Zach Rosenthal for © Twentieth Century Fox

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Cedar Rapids”

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