March 21, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 35°F


Raunchy comedy keeps plot simple

When sweet, wholehearted, small-town insurance agent Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) befriends a drunken, lewd, trash-talking business veteran (John C. Reilly), bromance blooms in “Cedar Rapids.”

But, a predictable plot and bland cinematography prevent this comedy from being anything special.

Visually, the film is nothing more than pale yellow hotel interiors, so much so that the viewer may begin to feel like they’re stuck in the dirty hotel. Because there is nothing stimulating about the setting, the film relies mainly on its characters.

The overarching plot is highly predictable — a naive main character goes to a place he’s never been before, tries to adjust and learns something about life — and the ending doesn’t offer audiences anything new. Helms plays the same typical Goody Two shoes he played in “The Hangover,” while Reilly takes his usual role as the loud, obnoxious sidekick. Though most of the comedy between these two relies on inappropriate jokes and overweight 40-year-old men in their underwear, there are a few moments of genuine laughs and truths.

The connection between the two unlikely main characters saves the film. Watching two polar opposites learn to see past their differences and become best friends adds a nice touch of sincerity and sweetness to what would have otherwise been a vulgar and boring comedy.

“Cedar Rapids” was written by Phil Johnston and directed by Miguel Arteta.

2 out of 4 stars