We may mock Hollywood all we want for it's sometimes all-too-predictable output of bombastic noise, OTT set pieces and non-existent coherent plot-lined movies, but the US does produce those small under-the-radar type of movies where, like light at the end of a tunnel, hope shines through.
Cedar Rapids is almost one of those movies.
Ed Helms, will be for most people, instantly recognisable as the "guy who loses a tooth in The Hangover." This is a shame, especially for the ones who will always know him as Andy Bernard, the likable goof from the American version of The Office. It is there that Helms has honed the guy-to-root-for persona down to a tee. And it is with this low budget, warm hearted comedy that the "they could have been twins" character of Insurance salesman Tim Lippy takes his first flight in a plane and stays in his first hotel at an award-giving conference and ultimately broadens his horizons and becomes a man.... in many ways.
After the slew of brash, shock-jock comedies of late, Cedar Rapids, not unlike its hero, is an honest to goodness, sweet, simple comedy, where the jokes are pure: not forced, not rough, and in some cases, ridiculously funny. Watching Whitlock Jr do a faultless impression of TVs The Wire hard-nosed character will delight especially since Whitlock Jr IS the actor that plays said role in the programme!
The cast give it their all and bring home the bacon with their respective roles - Reilly as the loud-mouthed player gets to do drunk but doesn't have all the lines and laughs to himself. Heche as the runs-with-the-boys woman who has a secret is the perfect love interest, and indeed, it is her storyline that puts you in mind of a similar plot line, except though Up In The Air wasn't done purely for laughs.
With its unusual meshing of Jerry Maguire meets Up In The Air through the eyes of The Office, Cedar Rapids is a pleasant comedy that even has a tart with a heart of gold - yep, it's that kind of adorable movie.
UK release date: 29.04.11