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Cedar Rapids Review at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Snapshot: Cedar Rapids Gives Ed Helms Another Hangover

Ed Helms has been building a film career for himself thanks to an extra boost from last year's smash hit The Hangover, and he headlines Cedar Rapids, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Helms plays yet another good guy to the core, but like his most recent comedy, his character gets himself into quite a bit of trouble.

  • Who's behind it? Miguel Arteta (The Good Girl, Youth in Revolt) directed this comedy starring Ed Helms, Anne Heche, John C. Reilly, and Sigourney Weaver.
  • What's it about? Tim (Helms) is a sheltered insurance agent from Wisconsin who is content with his simple life that consists of taking care of clients and a weekly sexual encounter with his former elementary school teacher. When the top salesman at his agency suddenly dies, Tim is sent to an annual convention with fellow insurance hotshots from around the country. Not only are Tim's small-town sensibilities put to the test, but he's forced to embrace the reality that not everything (or everyone) are what they appear to be on the surface.

For my verdict, just

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  • What did I think? I fully support the idea of Ed Helms as a leading man, but the script just tries too hard to make Tim push the envelope as he experiences the world outside of his home town for the first time. There are plenty of laughs as the boys' club between Tim and his new friends Dean (John C. Reilly) and Ronald (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) develops, but sometimes Ed's first-time experiences — which run the gamut from a friendship with a prostitute to a flirtation with a married woman (Anne Heche) — feel like a watered down version of The Hangover. Cedar Rapids still has some laugh-out-loud moments, but it could have been even better if the actors were able to become more than caricatures.
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