Tim Lippe is a big-time insurance agent in a very small town. He literally believes that his occupation is a gift to mankind and that he is here for a purpose. And so, when a fellow agent passes away right before the annual insurance convention in Cedar Rapids, he is sent to be the representative for his company as it vies for it’s 4th straight insurance award. The only problem is…Tim has never been out of his little town, so when he finds himself in the big city of Cedar Rapids, he starts to learn how to let his hair down a little by 3 other reps who quickly teach him the ropes. Sound entertaining? Um…not really. But this little independent film has a few things to offer, even if it never really sets the comedic tone that I think it was reaching for.
Tim is played by nerdy Ed Helms. Helms basically channels the same character that he played in “The Hangover,” except this time he takes it a little too far. Lippe is so naive and so lost in time that he has no idea how to check into a hotel. He gets overly anxious when the desk clerk asks for his credit card and he is constantly looking for acceptance from one of his former teachers who he is now sleeping with (Sigourney Weaver in a role that fits her). It’s when he meets his new friends that the movie really takes off. First he meets Ronald (Isaih Whitlock in an understated performance) and then the movie is all John C. Reilly’s as he takes over the film in every scene he’s in. His Dean Zeigler is hysterical in his honesty and his inability to fit in with the other suits at the conference. Anne Heche also spices up the movie with a star turn as Joan Fox, the lone woman in the group, and she seduces Tim (which is really weird), almost forcing him to have a good time, even when all of his instincts tell him no.
As the plot goes on, it’s up to Tim to bring home the company’s 4th award. Will he do the right thing or fall into the same pattern as his former workmate? Well you’ll have to see the movie to find out. But it’s really not all that important. The fun is getting to the “moment of truth” and Reilly and Heche do their damndest to make it entertaining even when it’s really not. I wasn’t a fan of Helms’ character. He’s a complete doofus and almost too nerdy. But the other characters really take this film up a notch and it is silly enough that it kept me entertained through most if it.
Overall Rating: C