I don’t know if you have any romanticized notions about how bloggers watch movies outside of theaters, but let me dispel just about all of them right now. Be it through Netflix, iTunes, Redbox, Blockbuster, or basic cable, watching movies is usually just us sitting in front of some sort of screen (and in rare cases, we can manage to net a friend or family member if the movie has wide appeal). We generally just plop, watch, and write, sharing our opinions not verbally with the person we endured the movie with but digitally with people who read our site or happen to accidentally wind up here after Googling “did the kings speech win any oscars?”
This method of movie watching inevitably favors one genre and shorts another. It’s easy to love a drama you watch at home because it’s hardly different than watching in the theater – that is, the audience is mostly silent for the duration of the movie. It’s hard to love a comedy because you have no one’s reaction but your own to measure as audience laughter has a significant impact on how we perceive the humor of a movie. Plus, no one really likes to laugh by themselves.
So when I come across a movie that can make me laugh while I’m curled up alone underneath my bed sheets, I rejoice! Ladies and gentleman, “Cedar Rapids” is one of those movies. Sure, it may be hopelessly pathetic and wallow in endless jokes of naïveté, but it’s actually funny! I laughed! A lot! In bed! Seriously, that doesn’t happen very often at all!
Ed Helms, best known as Andy Bernard from “The Office” and Stu from “The Hangover,” stars as Tim Lippe, the insular Wisconsin insurance salesman who gets a chance to go to the titular metropolis representing his company. There, he is exposed to the dangers and pleasures of true urban living and meets an exciting cast of characters including the crude Dean Ziegler (John C. Reilly), mild-mannered Ronald Wilkes (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), good-natured Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Anne Heche), and the prostitute with the heart of gold Bree (Alia Shawkat in the first role of its kind likely to be snubbed by the Oscars). Tim is totally clueless the entire movie, never really leaving his tighty-whitie turtle shell of ignorance. But even the cheap laughs work here, and my reactions ranged from chuckles to belly laughs. So what are you waiting on, book a trip to “Cedar Rapids” and enjoy comedy that can illicit a verbal reaction from you in the comfort of your own home. Humor me. (It’s also alright to laugh at the pun.) B+ /