Friday, April 8, 2011

'Cedar Rapids' a Delightful Surprise at the Grandin

Perhaps what many of us appreciate most about the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke is the small surprise, the un-birthday present that it gives us on occasion. It has one of those shining through right now in "Cedar Rapids," a comedy that is earthy, funny, self-parodying and uplifting in the way a good movie or a good book can be.

The plot concerns insurance man Tim Lippe, who believes those in his profession to be noble and heroic. He is naive, emotionally immature and almost totally inexperienced, never having been on a plane before he is sent to Cedar Rapids to the midwest convention of the group he represents. Everything is new to him: the hookers, the hucksters, the convention veterans and he is matched with three of those old-timers who show him the ropes.

Ed Helms (you know him from "The Office" and "Hangover") is droll, easily shocked, stuffy, straight-laced and  ready to become the life of the party in the hands of his new pals played by solid veterans John C. Reilly and Anne Heche, who are nearly perfect in their roles. Miguel Arteta's direction is superb and the movie flows beautifully from absurdity to laugh-out-loud absurdity.

A fine evening it is. See it.

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