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Cedar Rapids (2011)

A shout out to all our heroes in uniform today! Happy Veterans Day!

Cedar Rapids won acclaim at Sundance, and one of the guys on Filmspotting (I never remember which guy said once…) sang its praises several times.  I bumped the movie to the top of my Netflix queue, expecting it to be a diamond in the rough.

I wound up disappointed.

Ed Helms plays an optimistic and naieve insurance agent who has never left his small town.  When his boss unexpectedly dies, he is sent to the ASMI convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with the sole task of winning the Two Diamonds award for his agency.  The convention shakes him out of his sheltered life, into the big bad world.  John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, and Sigourney Weaver also star, and you’ll also recognize the faces of a number of TV and film character actors (but if you’re like me, you’ll have no idea what their names are).

It’s a fish out of water story, and the premise has a lot of potential.  Its downfall is that every characteristic and every plot point is taken to its extreme.  Helms’ character has the potential to be extremely relatable, but that quality ends up diluted because every instance of his sheltered perspective is over-played.

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