CEDAR RAPIDS (2011)

TMG Scale 1.0
Starring Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche , Stephen Root, Sigourney Weaver

Worst movie TMG has seen yet this year. I thought Paranormal Activity 2 was funnier and had a better plot. Some B movies (lets just call this an “F” movie for F-ing bad) are written on cocktail napkins after a few beers.  This missive was written on toilet paper after a bad hangover.

I actually had some high expectations and was looking for some cheap laughs.  The trailer looked humorous. The idea of some small town novice at a schlokey insurance convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa seemed like it would have potential. It just was not funny.

John C. Reilly did his predictable shtick of playing an overly obnoxious insurance conventioneer, full of vulgar references and counter jokes. Ed Helms  was no Stu (The Hangover, 2009)  Price however. he was just a dumb guy named Tim Lippe sent on his first overnight to the “AMSI Insurance”  convention from his humble town of Brown Valley,  Wisconsin.  His coworker usually handled the gig but was found “expired” in his bathroom, naked with belt around his throat.  While never mentioned by its technical term, it was a clear cut case of autoerotic asphyxiation.  The scary  part is no one had to explain what this is and everyone in the theatre seemed to know as well—unfortunately including me.  But this is only because I had never heard of this weird practice until it arose in a bizarre life insurance case in Iowa about a decade ago.  Even then, my friend Beth, (then an insurance regulator) laughed for hours trying to explain it to me. Bottom line, it was good for one cheap laugh.  Anyway, Lippe is dispatched to Cedar Rapids to win the local insurance industry ‘s coveted AMSI “Two Diamond” award.  It should be pretty easy to poke fun at insurance conventions. So why wasn’t it in this movie?

Sigourney Weaver plays Miss Vanderhei, Lippe’s grade school teacher turned FWB he leaves back home.  Anne Heche shows up as a swaggering drink shooter and hardened sleep around convention babe.  Weaver and Heche were wasted in this film and need to have a long chat with their agents. Stephen Root would certainly have been better utilized playing a reprise of his Milton Waddams character from Office Space (1999).

I cannot imagine the Chamber of Commerce of Cedar Rapids is any happier than I was about this movie. But after all, it is the birthplace of Ashton Kutcher and Ron (Office Space, 1999 ) Livingstone, …so who knows?  With all the cheap and stupid potty humor and “Richard” references, I expected Adam Sandler to show up at any moment.

TMG has always preached that good comedy is hard to do. This movie is living proof.

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