Cedar Rapids (UK - BD RB)
Our Marcus was told not to hang out with Dean Ziegler but does it anyway
Tim Lippy (Ed Helms) works for Brownstar Insurance and is happy with his small town life. He’s happy with his secret love affair with his former teacher (Sigourney Weaver) and generally he’s happy with the routine of his life. So when Brownstar superstar Roger Lemke dies in an auto-erotic asphyxiation accident it’s down to Tim Lippy to head to Cedar Rapids and win the Two Diamond Award for the company. Stepping out his comfort zone and interacting with other insurance salesmen, including the little bit wild Dean Ziegler (John C. Reilly) or “Dean-Z”, Tim struggles to hold onto his ideals but at the same time realises that those ideals might be up for reassessment.
Cedar Rapids is sort of like a high school movie but with forty somethings. There’s the jocks, the geeks and of course Ed Helms’ nerdy good heart who falls for the hottie (Anne Heche). The grown up approach to the same old set up makes this comedy a little fresher and somewhat deeper than its high school counterparts but at the same time the more grown up approach can make Cedar Rapids feel a little flat from time to time. I suppose the insurance salesmen backdrop is playing on that with intention but I found a lot of those plays on how unintentionally boring these characters are a little too grating from time to time especially towards the end at the meth party.
That said, Cedar Rapids has its moments. I can’t deny I laughed a whole lot, mostly at John C. Reilly whose every line had some sort of inappropriate spin and his boarish approach to life played on Reilly’s comedy sensibilities perfectly. I also liked Helm’s current spin on the straight as an arrow dweeb even if it’s seemingly all he does. He’s not as strong here as he is in either of The Hangover movies for me but he carries this comedy with ease and even if it’s a little too straight laced for its own good at times the odd spark of shock value comedy or mildly offensive outburst keep this feel good and moreso friendly movie one I reckon I could grow quite fond of after a few more viewings.
Cedar Rapids is a very brown tinted film. This gives skin tones a tanned feel and a somewhat unnaturally orange palette but this 1.85:1 presentation is loaded with detail. Shot digitally the image has an ever so slight softness to edges but there’s still a lot of fine detail on display here. Facial wrinkles look fantastic, blemishes and moles always feel apparent and textures in clothing can often look great. Throughout, the transfer is totally clean and has that HD brightness that most modern comedies thrive on.
Exterior daytime shots always look sharp even if there’s the odd hazy element and the darker scenes can look a mixture between great and a little too dark as shadows are celebrated rather than hidden away like a lot of the lighter comedies out there.
This is a comedy about an insurance convention so don’t expect a powerhouse mix here. The audio is largely held in the front channels with clear crisp dialogue remaining consistently strong. The light and bouncy score skips around the rears well and often makes the track feel full and the odd bit of ambience from the lively convention is all reliably realistic. Honestly this is a solid track without showing off. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it but at the same time there’s nothing that calls attention to the relatively run of the mill track either.
The disc opens with trailers for Win Win and then it's onto the extras. First up is the deleted scenes (07:19 HD) then it’s onto the genuinely quite amusing gag reel (04:17 HD).
'Mike O’Malley – Urban Clogger' (02:55 HD) is a fun little look at the actor practicing for his clogging tap dancing routine.
‘Tweaking in the USA’ (06:13 HD) is a look at the drug elements of the film and feels a little bit of a loose featurette really.
‘Wedding Belles – Crashing a Lesbian Wedding’ (04:16 HD) looks at the “Rug Munchers” wedding the friends crash in the film and how it was a late addition to the film. Lastly there’s ‘Top Notch Commercial’ (01:16 SD) which is the ropey old spoof advert used in the film which is an over the top spin on those insurance adverts on TV.
Cedar Rapids isn’t the strongest of comedies and its pulse rarely rises above routine but given the insurance salesmen gone wild plot (or as wild as they can anyway) this movie works in a way that indie comedies tend to and catches up with you. I can see why the movie gained a lot of positive buzz but it’s not really a comedy for everyone and I can’t imagine it’ll hit with all of The Hangover audience who are looking for more of the same with Helms even though he is quite literally delivering more of the same. This Blu-ray disc looks and sounds great, but the extras are pretty thin and seemingly thiner than the US release, so it's not all thumbs up.
* Note: The below images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 19th September 2011
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, English Audio Description, DTS 5.1 French, DTS 5.1 German,
Subtitles: English, French, German, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish
Extras: Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Featurettes, Top Notch Commercial’
Easter Egg: No
Director: Miguel Arteta
Cast: Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Sigourney Weaver
Genre: Comedy and Drama
Length: 86 minutes
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