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Monday, March 21, 2011

Quick Review: Cedar Rapids

If you read this recent post and also follow me on Twitter, you know that on Thursday I was rushing to see "Cedar Rapids" before noon (the 11:40 showing, to be precise) -- because I wanted to pay the cheaper ticket price and because I feared it was the movie's last day at this multiplex -- and actually missed a small portion at the beginning. Apparently, unlike movies where five or six trailers are shown before it starts, this one started a lot closer to the scheduled time. From what I previously read about it, I believe I got there during the first scene after the opening credits, which showed insurance agent Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) in bed with a female companion (Sigourney Weaver!); reading Roger Ebert's review just now, it seems he is still living in his hometown of Brown Valley, Wisconsin -- and she was his grade-school teacher. Yikes! Tim sees her as a serious girlfriend (his first, I guess), while she's just having a fling. After another agent at his company dies suddenly, Tim is assigned to take his place at an annual insurance industry conference in Cedar Rapids and make sure he brings back a coveted award that the firm has won four years in a row. Tim is naive about almost everything, having lived a very simple life and having never left town before. At times it makes sense, as when he learns exactly how his co-worker died and how said dead guy actually won those awards. At other times it's a bit beyond comprehension, as when he doesn't quite get that he has to go through the TSA screening process to board his plane, or leave a credit card imprint when checking into his hotel ("I was told you would honor travelers' checks.") But Tim eventually gets a little up to speed with the help of other conventioneers, including Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock and John C. Reilly. The movie is quite funny, as Tim experiences a lot during this convention (including alcohol and drug use) and becomes a little more wise in the ways of the world. And, by the way, it's still playing at the theater I was rushing to last week. With any luck it's still playing at a theater near you. My grade: B-plus.

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