March 3, 2011

Review: 'Cedar Rapids' Insures Comedy

"We insure your dreams."

Ed Helms (The Hangover) proves himself as a real charmer on screen once again in director Miguel Artata's quirky small-town indie comedy, Cedar Rapids. Helms is utterly likeable and earnest as Tim Lippe, a very mild-mannered insurance agent. Lippe is in awe when he leaves his hometown for an insurance convention. The whole thing feels reminiscent of indie comedies of the 1990s in the best possible way with a contemporary twist and feeling all around.

John C. Reilly (Step Brothers) steals most scenes he's in with incredible and impeccable line delivery. Isiah Whitlock Jr. from the HBO program The Wire is a solid straight man with sure fire balance. The ensemble and collection of actors have great chemistry. Anne Heche continues to show her abilities as not only a talented actress but gifted comedian playing a sexually confident business woman. Alia Shawkat  (Arrested Development) gives a strangely amusing turn as a hotel prostitute with a heart made of (not quite) gold.

Cedar Rapids is a charming, delightful film that bleeds indie comedy sensibilities. The supporting cast is embarrassingly deep and rich with comedic tricks. Artata uses minimal camera techniques, relying on sharp editing and the superb comic timing of his talent to shape a fun narrative and scenes of genuine humour derived from honest moments of character development.

The old school comedy vibe with its references to cheesy, tape-to-tape edited commercials round out the mood of the film well. All the fun and charm of the film rests upon the ably performed comedy from its cast blended with sharp, witty writing, and well-timed direction. Cedar Rapids is a winner. You are insured a good time with this cast of characters.

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