Directed by: Miguel Arteta Cast: Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche Running Time: 1 hr 27 mins Rating: R Due Out: June 21, 2011
PLOT: Tim Lippe (Helms) has no idea what he's in for when he's sent to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent his company at an annual insurance convention, where he soon finds himself under the "guidance" of three convention veterans.
WHO'S IT FOR? Rabid fans of the films of Judd Apatow, Mike Judge, Todd Phillips and their ilk, will likely tolerate this film, possibly even enjoy it -- It's a workingman's version of such, dumbed down quite a bit further.
MOVIE: I feel like I really should have enjoyed this film. But I didn't. I am the perfect test subject for Cedar Rapids (or perhaps the antithesis of such), as I've worked in the insurance industry for the past six years, and my family hails from Cedar Rapids, so I know a lot about both. With this in mind, I personally feel like this film really botched what was potentially a great premise.
In analysis of the film's trailer, I'd written the following back on January 1, 2011, and I have to say I feel the exact same way after watching the film:
A movie trailer is a success insomuch as it piques one’s interest — this failure of a trailer piqued nothing in me but nausea.
When I first heard about the premise of this film, and learned who was directing (Miguel Arteta) and who was cast (Ed Helms, John C. Reilly), I was hopeful that Arteta might apply some Mike Judgesque flair to the whole affair, but after seeing this trailer, I must say I’ve now completely written off Cedar Rapids. I found myself wishing thatThe Hangover hadn’t been quite so successful at the box office — this film appears to have been spawned directly from such loins. I am so highly skeptical that this film will do anything but annoy.
I hated the music in this trailer, I hated the stupid voice-over, I hated the many failed attempts at humor (e.g. “I don’t trust people with pony tails!”) and the juvenile innuendo (e.g. BrownStar Insurance). I was horribly confused by John C. Reilly’s “perfect moment” — Anne Heche swimming topless in a hotel pool is “perfect?” Like I said, “horribly confused.”
Yes, I think I hated everything about this trailer.
In the end, I even hated the shooting location…
I’ve been to Cedar Rapids (Iowa), enough times to easily recognize it, and where this trailer did utilize a brief shot of CR’s actual skyline early on, I feel the decision makers ultimately erred in their decision to use Ann Arbor, Michigan as their Cedar Rapids “stand in.” Cedar Rapids was filmed entirely in the Ann Arbor area, and while Ann Arbor’s skyline is more visually impressive then that of Cedar Rapids, I feel like they’re missing out on some decent potential here. The initial premise is a novel one: A naive, small-town insurance salesman heads into the “big city” of Cedar Rapids, and is flung into a wild world he never knew existed. That’s a funny idea. For those unawares, Cedar Rapids is quite a small city itself, in relative terms, and Arteta and company really dropped the ball, failing to capitalize on a fair opportunity for humor, a la “Oh, I get it, the extremely small-town guy is entirely overwhelmed by the medium-sized city, perceiving it as a metropolis beyond all imagining.” This trailer made the fictional Cedar Rapids look a lot bigger than it actually is, and in doing so, lost out.
This trailer was horrible, and succeeded only in making Cedar Rapids look horrible. I would have given it a 1/10, but I have yet to ever give a 1/10, and I’d like to keep that ace in the hole.
To ensure ticket sales, typical comedy film movie trailers tend to show the funniest moments of their film, but every once in awhile, a comedy trailer will hold back, working more as a teaser, and you'll find yourself saying, "wow, this is really a lot funnier than the trailer made it out to be." I wish I could say the latter was true in the case of Cedar Rapids, but as it stands here, the trailer and the film were on par with each other -- both terrible. I can't really think of anything nice to say about this film, other than: I chuckled a couple times.
Waste. Of. Time.
MOVIE SCORE: 2/10
"Deleted Scenes" (7:19)
"Gag Reel" (4:17)
"Convention Connection" (13:19)
"Mike O'Malley: Urban Clogger" (2:55)
"Tweaking in the U.S.A." (6:13)
"Wedding Belles: Crashing a Lesbian Wedding" (4:16)
"Top Notch Commercial" (1:16)
"Fox Movie Channel Presents: Miguel Arteta" (6:37) and "Phil Johnson" (6:48)