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'Cedar Rapids': Can Ed Helms pull off a leading-man role? [Trailer]

December 23, 2010 |  1:01 pm

Cedar-Rapids-movie-trailerUntil now, Ed Helms has largely been an endearing but supporting character on both the small and big screens: as a correspondent on "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart," as the whipped boyfriend in "The Hangover," as a sweet but slightly pathetic salesman on "The Office."

But Helms finally gets his turn as a leading man in February's "Cedar Rapids," in which he again plays what's becoming his stock-in-trade character of the lovable loser.

In the newly-released trailer for Miguel Arteta's film, we meet Helms' character Tim Lippe, an up-the-middle, uptight Midwestern insurance agent whose company sends him to a convention in Cedar Rapids. There he meets a group of agents with a penchant for partying (played by John C. Reilly, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock Jr.).

The movie, which will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, seeks to augur a comeback for Arteta ("The Good Girl") after his ambivalently received "Youth In Revolt" this year.

In a way, Arteta's new film almost seems like an indie version of "The Hangover," except that the cast of zany characters here seems more square. (Helms' character is the kind of person who finds that the car he’s rented is a run-of-the-mill Chevy and seems genuinely tickled.)

The movie hinges on the idea that Tim attends the conference as a last-ditch effort to save his struggling company. Instead, he becomes distracted by his new wild cohorts and a budding romance with Heche’s character. The stakes don’t seem all that high, but there appear to be plenty of enjoyable moments.

While Reilly is as amusingly over-the-top as he was in "Step Brothers," it's Helms who shines. He's reprising the entertaining role of naive goofball , and, fortunately, this time we're getting a lot more of him.

--Amy Kaufman



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Photo: Ed Helms, far right, stars in "Cedar Rapids." Credit: Fox Searchlight.

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As a native Cedar Rapidian, I have to ask what the odd cabal is of Hollywood producers that have conspired to make our fair city one of the most oft referenced mid-sized towns in the Midwest? From SNL's 1970's reference in the Dan Akroyd skit "First Church of the Jack Lord in CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA" to countless other glancing scripted references. Now our own feature film. The cereal capital of the world has truly arrived.

What are you talking about Brent? Cedar Rapids is hardly the oft referenced anything. I'd wager that most other towns in the 150k-200k range have far more national notoriety than Cedar Rapids. Somehow that city manages to almost completely fly under the radar of ever being noticed nationally.


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