The Movie: 7/10
Laughing is under rated as a measure a movie. Some movies make you laugh your head off but they are total shit. Some well made movies that are supposed to be funny don’t get as much as a chuckle. The laughing can make the experience of any movie blur the lines of judgement. What am I getting at? I laughed a lot at Cedar Rapids, and it’s well made, it’s just not a big time memorable flick that I will go back to over and over when I need that laughing again.
I enjoyed it a lot. It’s got that sweetness that a lot of modern comedies have these days. An innocent, naive man goes to a convention and essentially hits a coming-of-age plot head first. He encounters some hyped up characters, the bad boy, the wife escaping her daily life, and the good conservative hard working insurance salesman. This is an insurance convention, which adds a bit of comedy before ever getting to the movie at all. I mean, insurance sales people are ruthless, rude, greedy, sleazy, horrible people, right? Hmmm this movie does a little bit to chip away at that attitude and that’s where some of the sweetness comes in. It’s not a hateful or ridiculing kind of story. They do highlight the hypocrisy of the god-freak leader of this insurance organization and make him look like an asshole, and I do like that idea:)
It’s understated with a bit of wackiness thrown in for good measure. That’s how I would describe Cedar Rapids. I like the cast and they fit this vibe just right. Sigourney Weaver as the ex-teacher girlfriend of our naive leading man to Ann Heche as the mom/wife who wants to escape and what she does in Cedar Rapids, stays in Cedar Rapids. Everybody is believable with a hint of outrageousness. John C Reilly, well, you just to experience his obnoxious character for yourself to get it. And Isiah Whitlock Jr. plays the conservative straight-laced salesman exactly perfectly. There is a smaller part for a prostitute named Bree, but the woman who plays her, Alia Shawkat, steals the show for me. They all balance the obvious bold humor and the sincere message of the story well and keep it from being too grounded or too crazy.
If this is the way of the 21st century comedy, at least these early years of it, I’m all for it. I might not love it like I do Groundhog Day, or Stripes, or dare I say The Jerk (the memory of that one might be better than the movie itself, but the impact is worth mentioning), but Cedar Rapids is one I can recommend to so many folks for it’s humor and niceness. Beware of people who are a bad influence at conventions, that’s the first lesson to learn. Never go to a party with a prostitute and her “uncle”, lesson #2. Don’t ever let the veil of godliness blind you to the reality that a lot of people are corrupt but they pretend they aren’t by putting on a mask of purity…..these are good things worked into the story that I appreciate.
- Deleted Scenes – I think these extras could fit in the movie without any problem. They are not as disposable as they seem to think.
- Gag Reel – People laughing and messing up their lines doesn’t seem like much of an extra any more. It should be standard on these discs from now on…are you listening DVD making people??
- Convention Connection – How do you bring an insurance convention to life in a Hollywood comedy? That’s the question, here’s the answer, make it funny.
- Mike O’Malley – Urban Clogger – I have no idea why this is an extra nor why this guy had to learn clogging? The clogging in the movie is like about 10 seconds and the extra doesn’t make it any more interesting. Sorry folks, this not an extra, it’s a “which of these things doesn’t belong” items.
- Tweaking In The USA – Another brief behind the scenes look at one aspect of the movie, doing drugs. These are all pretty much the same and could have been made into one big extra, but hey, they don’t ask for my insightful advice.
- Wedding Belles – Crashing A Lesbian Wedding – Our leading characters step into the reception of a lesbian wedding and some antics ensue, this is how it all went down on the production side.
- Top Notch Commercial – This is a full blown commercial for the fictional insurance agency our leading man starts with his new friends. Strangely it seems almost real & gory.
- Fox Movie Channel Presents: Direct Effect with Miguel Arteta – A TV extra, interview style, that’s about what inspired the movie.
- Fox Movie Channel Presents: Writer’s Draft with Phil Johnston – Ditto from the Direct Effect extra.
- BD Live Enabled – Extra featurette, so go digging around for it. Ed Helms mad chopper skills with a tiny little helicopter on set.
- Pocket Blu – Take it with you wherever you go, fun.
- Digital Copy Of Feature Film – Copy copy copy
Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
I do like this cover in a weird way. It’s a strange color, his face looks really digitally altered and it’s really bold. I don’t normally like the star’s face on the cover and I wouldn’t usually say I would have something like this as a poster. This time, however, a mini poster on a small section of wall in our home would be kind of crazy movie-lovin’ enjoyment.
Audio & Video: 7/10 (By Ascully)
Cedar Rapids is a very brown movie. It’s almost like it stepped out of 1970 with the sets and the clothes, but here on Blu-Ray it shines. Shot digitally on the Arri D-21 the image is clear and sharp like most modern movies, but without that layer of grain that you see on movies shot on film. Lot’s of detail is evident with close up shots showing the age of a number of actors in the movie. Black levels are fine (slightly murky at times) and DNR is not evident. This is a 1080P AVC transfer that will satisfy even the most jaded movie buff.
The DTS-HD Master Audio track is serviceable, like most comedy’s nothing really jumps out at you. Dialog is front and center and the subwoofer only kicks in during the scenes in the bar when music is present. The movie won’t win any awards for sound design but what is presented on the disc is faithful to the theatrical version.
Seriously people, almost 27 bucks for a movie? Really? These days you have to take a step back and wonder which way they think they are screwing you next. Rent this one for a great evening in at the movies for sure, but to spend that kind of money on a passing comedy is not a productive use of your grocery money. The extras are really good and you will spend the better part of your evening laughing, but still, come on, order a pizza and buy your loved one a small gift. Don’t blow the wad on this extra special super awesome edition, hold out until it’s cheaper…waaaayyyy cheaper.
Overall Score 7/10