Cedar Rapids is an outanding movie, and you should rent it on DVD today. Yes, Ed Helms plays the same lovable, dorky guy that you see in The Office and [The Hangover][hangoverlink] movies. But what makes this movie special is several things: (1) John C. O’Reilly, and the other actors, all of whom are perfectly cast; (2) the screenplay, and (3) the directing.
The screenplay, however, is the key to Cedar Rapids’ success. Basically, the story is like Office Space: the honest workers versus the soulless corporate bosses. They’re both funny, but Cedar Rapids is a more nuanced portrayal of this kind of story. The first time you see it (I’ve watched it three times already) you won’t see any nuance; you’ll only see the outrageous humor, and all the obvious stuff.
The movie works on two levels, and the subtle parts are the most interesting ones.
If you wind up watching it more than once (and there are few movies that I ever watch twice, much less three times) pay attention to the contrast between the “low-life characters” and the “upstanding characters.” Notice how the upstanding characters are eventually all revealed to be deeply flawed, while the low-lifes and dorks turn out to be filled with integrity.
The moral is: it’s better to be an honest dork or flawed prostitute than a greedy egotistical bastard. What an apt movie for the era of Enron, the Housing Collapse, and now the U.S. Debt Crisis. I wonder how many more cataclysms our upstanding leaders have in store for us?