Saturday, March 12, 2011
The Scoop On One Of The Year's Funniest Films
Many of them turn out to be "dramadies." They want to be comedic but wind up being neither funny nor serious.
Many turn preachy and heavy-handed.
And of course some become so downright silly that the comedy winds up being implausible.
Is it too much to ask for a genuine human comedy with real belly laughs and lots of fun?
Well, no -- not if the movies is Cedar Rapids, a revealing, though-provoking, character-based comedy that never becomes ponderous and remains fresh and funny with just enough outlandish situations and unexpected twists to give it great, laugh-out-loud moments.
Here's the setup: A hopelessly earnest small town, mid-Anerica insurance man has no idea what he's in for when he's sent to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent his company at an annual insurance convention, where he soon finds himself under the "guidance" of three convention veterans. What happens to him in Cedar Rapids is part Neil Simon, part Woody Allen (though not as talky) and part Keystone Cops with a bit of the Coen Brothers and Preston Sturges thrown in. And it all lands somewhere between "The Hangover" and "It's Complicated" (though it's hardly that complicated).
This endearing, low-budget indie shines thanks to the stellar work of Ed Helms, Johnh C. Reilly and Anne Heche in the lead roles. They are an incomparable ensemble. Other standouts include Sigouney Weaver, Isiah Whitlock, Jr. and Kurtwood Smith.
Track down Cedar Rapids as soon as you can.
You'll understand why this flick won top honors at the Sundance Festival. Bravo!