If you have seen the trailer for the new comedy “Cedar Rapids” then you do not have to see the movie. I knew exactly what was going to happen, with one minor exception, from having been shown the “Cedar Rapids” trailer seemingly every time I went to an AMC movie theatre over the past few months. The trailer sums up the story and even includes the film’s final moment. The “Cedar Rapids” story is actually a very easy one to encapsulate, as there is little material to begin with, and what story there is we have already seen a thousand times.
If you have seen actor John C. Reilly play one of his loud, raucous, wacky characters (“Cyrus,” “Taladega Nights,” “Walk Hard”), then you can also live a good and full life without seeing “Cedar Rapids.” Reilly is not the main character, but rather a nutty side character. In real world terms, Reilly represents the indie film cliché of the higher profile actor who has decided to be in a low budget indie because he most likely found the script just too endearing to pass up. God only knows why or how.
The main character is Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) a naïve, repressed Wisconsin insurance agent, in his late thirties – early forties, who has gone nowhere in life. Having never been out of his small town Wisconsin existence, he now has to represent his insurance company at a convention in the big time: Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Yes, Tim is out of his league, but it’s a reasonable bet that by film’s end he will learn to loosen up and grow up with the help of various eccentric characters he meets along the way.
If you somehow missed the ubiquitous trailer but have seen a few quirky, indie, “festival darling” films, you can also skip “Cedar Rapids.” In fact my ribs are still sore from the movie constantly, metaphorically nudging me in the side as if to say “See, I am a quirky independent film,” nudge, nudge, wink, wink.