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Cedar Rapids


Stars: Ed Helms, John C Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Alia Shawkat, Kurtwood Smith, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Root, Rob Corddry

Director: Miguel Arteta

A mild (apart from the language) little comedy about Tim (Helms), an equally mild insurance salesman from tiny Brown Valley who, when his manager dies in a bizarre sex act, finds himself seconded to make the big pitch at a Cedar Rapids conference to win his firm the coveted Two Diamond rating for the fourth year running.

Saying goodbye to the mistress (Weaver), who used to be his teacher, Tim plunges head first into hedonistic corruption at Cedar Rapids. He's: roomed with an Afro-American (Whitlock Jr) and with Ziegler (Reilly) who he's been warned to steer clear of; swiftly bedded by the appropriately-named Joan Fox (Heche), on leave from husband and children; introduced to drink and drugs at a wild party by a friendly hooker (Shawkat); and forced to bribe the conference chief (sharkish Smith) to retain the coveted Two Diamond award.

Eventually, as is inevitable in such films, Tim steps forward to become his own man.

TV comedian Helms, all big teeth and slicked-over hair, does OK with his first leading role after The Hangover, but the cinema hardly needs another Steve Carell, and the dialogue is too often crass without remembering to be funny as well. With slicker, sharper treatment, this could have hit the bullseye. As it is, it's just inconsequential, a 'B' feature in 'A' feature's clothing.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox (Fox Searchlight). Technicolor.
87 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 25 Apr 2011