Cedar Rapids: The Super Awesome Edition (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

I loved “The Hangover”, then again so did everyone else. Every once in a while a movie comes around that’s either so unique or original that it’s no wonder why it’s a success. Such was the case with “The Hangover.” The down side to films like this is that they always inspire a bunch of knock offs. Zach Galifianakis teamed up with Robert Downey Jr. in “Due Date” last fall and though Bradley Cooper hasn’t done a total knock off, he did do “The A-Team” so the less said there, the better. Now it’s Ed Helms’ turn. We all know Mr. Helms from “The Office” on television, but he’s now a movie-star. If people like Helms in “The Office” and “The Hangover” they’ll love him in “Cedar Rapids!” I can only imagine that’s what was said at a meeting that green lit this film. Now, truthfully, I wanted to like “Cedar Rapids.” I want to laugh and be entertained, so I had no preconceived notions about it when I popped the Blu-ray in. Here’s what I got from it.

Helms plays Tim Lippe, a run-of-the-mill insurance salesman from Wisconsin who’s just been tasked to head to the big convention in, you guessed it, Cedar Rapids, IA. This is pretty routine as all Tim really has to do is show up, stay away from Dean Ziegler (John C. Reilly) and collect yet another prestigious “Two Diamond” award. Does this happen? Well of course not. Tim immediately runs into Dean and his suite-mate, Ronald Wilkes (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), is as straight-laced as they come. Add to this that Tim runs into Joan Ostrowski-Fox (an almost unrecognizable Anne Heche), and sleeps with her. As Tim becomes more buddy-buddy with Dean, it stands to ruin the “Two Diamond” award as the President of the Insurance Salesmen (Kurtwood Smith) is a mortal enemy of Dean. So can Tim have a good time, while at the same time come home with the award?

The movie, like this review, is all over the place. I literally didn’t crack a smile one time during the course of this film and it’s a shame. It’s not really a fault of the actors, I do like Kurtwood Smith, Ed Helms, John C. Reilly and Stephen Root. But if the script isn’t funny, it’s pretty likely that the movie won’t be either. I think they just got mis-directed. If it’d been raunchy or slapstick funny that might have been one thing, but I think they were trying to “re-create” a series of other films here and it just didn’t work. Plus, there’s nothing funny about insurance salesmen. We get it. They’re geeks and not really that interesting. Why make a movie about them? No doubt this movie has a fan base…somewhere. However for me, it’s 87 minutes of my life that I consider wasted.

Video: How does it look?

“Cedar Rapids” looks fairly good, though I don’t remember being overly impressed with the 1.85:1 AVC HD transfer. A majority of the film takes place indoors (in the hotel) so there’s not a lot of opportunities to show off the contrast and so forth. Flesh tones look adequate and detail is very good. I didn’t notice any grain in the image, but a few of the scenes did feel a bit soft to me. This is a new to Blu-ray movie and while it does look good, I just wasn’t blown away by how it looked.

Audio: How does it sound?

The DTS HD Master Audio track didn’t really impress me, either. Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to bag on this movie at every given opportunity, it just didn’t sound too terribly great. Dialogue sounds very good, it’s very strong, clean and centered with no distortion present. Surrounds are active somewhat, though I’m scratching my head trying to think of an example in which they really played a part. Nope…nothing. The front stage takes the brunt of the soundtrack and though this uncompressed mix probably could have sounded better – it just doesn’t. Sorry, strike two.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Now I will say that “Cedar Rapids” does have a good sampling of extras and even a DVD/Digital Copy of the film – that’s good. Then again, this is usually a tactic employed by the studios to make sure people buy their movies that, well, aren’t good. But as I mentioned, I’m sure this movie has a fan base out there somewhere and for that group, here’s the rundown on the supplements. We get about 7 minutes of deleted scenes which probably could have been added into the movie since the running time was only 87 minutes. There’s the obligatory gag reel as well. We get “Convention Connection” in which the cast reflects on the movie and “how great it was to be working with so and so” and we also get a peek at “Mike O’Malley: Urban Clogger” as we see way more than we should about the big dance scene. There’s a look at “Wedding Belles: Crashing a Lesbian Wedding” which is faily self-explanatory as well as a fake ad for Tim’s Insurance Company, Brownstone Insurance. Lastly we get two quick featurettes on Miguel Arteta and Phil Johnson as they tell us their thoughts on the movie-making process. Lastly we have the original theatrical trailer.

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