johnlink ranks CEDAR RAPIDS (2011)

I have come to be a fan of THE OFFICE’s Ed Helms. I hadn’t really seen any of the show  before really liking him in THE HANGOVER. Now that I’ve had a chance to see much of the series, I enjoy him as a comedian. The tone of this little movie seemed to be in line with UP IN THE AIR, which I loved, so this is one I’ve been wanting to see.

I watched CEDAR RAPIDS (2011) on 3.14.12 (I should have watched Pi!), it was my first viewing of the film.

I’m not sure I’ve ever said this about a movie, but this is almost too small. I’ve seen films which take place in one room (TAPE comes to mind), but those flicks usually have some major message or suspenseful hook. CEDAR RAPIDS is about a small town guy coming out of his shell. He does so realistically, at first, before devolving into a strange scene involving a hooker, cocaine, and a fist fight. That scene is probably the one bit I didn’t buy about the movie, though it was also the most unpredictable entry.

The acting is very solid. Helms, Anne Heche (in what I think is her best role), John C. Reilly… all very good. The revelation for me was Isiah Whitlock Jr., who I was unfamiliar with. He just nails this movie.

The story involves an insurance salesperson conference, with Ed Helms playing a guy who’s never even been on a plane. The monotony of a small place like Cedar Rapids seems grandiose to him, and the characters he comes across are brash and eccentric by his quaint standards.

I just finished this wanted more. There are several really nice moments, and there is the expected payoff at the end. There are some funny jokes mixed in with some heart. There are characters who are at times annoying, but ultimately find redemption. Many of the pieces are here. But the whole never becomes fulfilling. I don’t hate this movie by any stretch, but it didn’t satisfy me the way UP IN THE AIR was completely able to. The beats in the two movies are similar, but the Clooney vehicle nails them all, where CEDAR RAPIDS hits a few singles without ever crushing anything.

My expectations weren’t through the roof, but I was hoping for a little less ho-hum. The brown and beige colors which permeate this film are intended to represent the monotony of the insurance life, yet serve only to create a feeling of blandness in the viewer. Not a movie I would probably seek out again, though the performances really were very good.






~ by johnlink00 on March 14, 2012.

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