Cedar Rapids takes place in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I am from Iowa and have been to Cedar Rapids. I just have to say how right this movie gets Iowa. And I also need to say how much I love that they put it in Iowa so that they could get those things right. Hopefully, that last sentence will make more sense after reading the full review.
Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) was probably home schooled. He lives in rural Wisconsin. He has never been outside of his small town. He has never even stayed at a hotel. He is an insurance salesman. He is about as innocent and naive as Bambi pre-momma-as-venison-jerky. I must give huge appreciation to Ed Helms here, because I believed him. I believed that Tim Lippe could be a person. He was not a caricature. I cared about Tim Lippe.
Each year, Tim’s insurance agency sends their rock star down to the Two Diamond conference. And each year he wins the award. This year, right before the conference, the star dies in a horrible accident. At least that is how Tim puts it. The reality is that this pious man has accidentally killed himself during auto-erotic asphyxiation. I horrible way to die, but at least he went out with a bang. (Ba-dum-dum!)
So Tim’s boss decides to send Tim down because he is about as vanilla as a human being can get, and a big part of the Two Diamond award is walking the path of God. The boss is hoping that Tim’s earnestness can overcome the fact that his biggest producer liked to choke himself while flogging the bishop. Tim is afraid to go to the “big city” and so the boss gives him a list of dos and donts that include people to stay away from. Of course, the one person he is supposed to stay away from, Dean Ziegler (played by the fantastic John C. Reilly), becomes one of his roommates.
This is where Tim’s reality gets a rude awakening to an entirely new way of life. Dean likes to booze, party and ride any woman that will give him admission. But he is also a genuine guy and he and Tim strike up a relationship. Tim also meets Ronald Wilkes (Isaiah Whitlock Jr.) who is what I think Urkel would be like when he grows up, and Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Anne Heche).
Joan uses the Cedar Rapids event as a way to escape her life and she instantly takes a liking to Tim. These four find many hi-jinks and drunken adventures to go on. One of which showed me why they chose Iowa. These four stumble upon a lesbian wedding (gay marriage is legal in Iowa) and have a great time drinking and dancing with the brides.
But I do have to say that I loved the hooker Bree (Alia Shawkat). She stands outside the front of the hotel and asks people if they are interested in partying. Tim has no idea what this means and just thinks that she is nice. Further into the movie you get another reason why this film was placed in Iowa. Tim is upset because of some things that happened because he was drunk and stupid. Bree feels bad for him and invites him to a real party that she is going to. In true Iowa style, she then pulls out a crack pipe and she, the driver and Tim all get ripped out of their minds.
They then go to a house party with some true “country” folk. I love that Rob Corddry shows up as the bad ass. In this situation, I feel that he was perfect for the role of country bad ass. This scene ends with a fantastic gag from Ronald that you have to see to believe. I promise you you will be laughing out loud.
My only real beef with this movie was how the ending just sort of happened. All of a sudden, there is a brand new dilemma and a very quick solution. It was like they had another forty minutes of the movie that they shortened to about five. Other than that, I really enjoyed Cedar Rapids.
I would highly recommend it to anyone feeling like a laugh. John C. Reilly as a drunk underwater R2D2 is worth the price of admission alone. Go see Cedar Rapids.
Have you seen Cedar Rapids? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below.