Tim Lippe 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 th... Read allTim Lippe 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.Tim Lippe 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.
With the exception of a pretty dark final 30 minutes where Helms' Lippe hits rock bottom, the film is pretty light. If it weren't for a good amount of vulgar humor (mostly from John C. Reilly's Ziegler), this film probably would've fallen to a PG-13 rating. A lot of the laughs come from Lippe's wide-eyed wonder at the real world and Ziegler's drunken antics. The gags in the film never really amount to more than a few chuckles, even when Helms loses his mind. It's a fun enough story with Lippe trying his darnedest to represent Brownstar in an honest fashion and finding out how even an institution like his beloved ASMI isn't impervious to the corruption of the world. Unfortunately, chuckles are about all the film amounts to. For a film billed as a comedy, there aren't a whole lot of "laugh out loud" moments. It's a shame too because the pairing of Helms and Reilly is a promising one. The film's quirkiness takes center stage with corny jokes and nicknames taking center stage over any real jokes. Amusing, yes. Is it a film I'll be hyping up to my friends? Probably not.
Helms is a great straight-man. He's already got the look of a respectable man, so all he needs to do is freak out (at which he excels) in strange circumstances and he can usually get a laugh (see any scene of his in THE HANGOVER). Here, he's the ultimate straight-man and he plays innocent well. Reilly's Ziegler is his polar opposite, boisterous, often drunk, and at constant odds with ASMI headman Orin Helgesson (Kurtwood Smith). Reilly's a comedic heavyweight and gets most of the best laughs in the film and manages to balance a bit of a empathetic human side to his party animal. Rounding out the main cast are Anne Heche as feisty Joan Ostrowski-Fox and Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Ron Wilkes. Heche makes an for a hot red-head and her character treats every ASMI convention in Cedar Rapids like a trip to Vegas ("What happens in Cedar Rapids, stays in Cedar Rapids.") and Whitlock's Wilkes is the voice of reason amongst the group. Some great chemistry amongst the cast here but the film's just a little too tame, relying on minor chuckles instead of any real laughs. Or as Ronald Wilkes might put it, this film is N.T.S. In this case, "not that special."
- Aug 9, 2011