by David Schuster
A movie that has been getting little fanfare (but should be) is "Cedar Rapids"
"Cedar Rapids" is actually two movies pumped into one. It's both a comedy with some pretty good laughs but it's also a story of a man who's conscious and morality wins out over everything.
Ed Helms continues his rise in the entertainment world from TV character actor to now a star on the big screen and this role comes smack dab in the middle of "The Hangover" and the upcoming "The Hangover 2". Helms is a small town insurance agent sent off to a big city (Cedar Rapids ) convention with the explicit instructions of winning a prestigious award which will allow his company to prosper.
Helms is completely naive and views Cedar Rapids as if it's New York. He's completely in awe of the big town surroundings and goings on and it reminded me of the Reuschel brothers (Rick and Paul) when they first came to the Cubs. Those guys looked like fish out of water but eventually became comfortable in their surroundings much like Helms does in this movie.
A great supporting cast includes John C. Reilly (incredible potty mouth), Isaih Whitlock Jr. (I'd kill for his broadcasting pipes) and Anne Heche who is one kinky and attractive woman. The four cast mates go through a series of funny and uncomfortable situations but eventually band together to get Helms out of a sticky situation.
This is the kind of movie that grows on you as it unfolds. It's not rip roaring hilarious but it does have some good laughs. And, in the end it's the story of a man who has built his life to always do the right thing and does so when the chips are down. Helms plays an everyday man and you can't help but to root for him.
At just 87 minutes "Cedar Rapids" hits all the right notes and leaves you with a good feeling exiting the theater and I give it a triple - three stars.