Cedar Rapids: The Super Awesome Edition (Blu-ray Review)

I was happy to be able to revisit Cedar Rapids.  I thought it was a very charming comedy that was unfortunately only able to be seen in limited release, during its theatrical run.  Fortunately, the Blu-ray for this film is now available and many can now buy or rent this sweet-natured, raunchy comedy.  It helps that the disc looks great and packs a nice set of special features as well.  I am not about to say that this is the best comedy of the year, but the film does have a lot of good laughs and all of the actors share great chemistry here.  Certainly worth a look, so scroll on down and read a bit more about the film and this disc.


Ed Helms stars as Tim Lippe, an insurance salesman, based in the sleepy town of Brown Valley, Wisconsin.  Tim is the sort of naïve fellow who is in his mid-30s, but has never left his home town.  He does well enough at his job, but has never progressed into being something greater.  As Tim sees it, his greatest accomplishment is his current relationship with his former 7th grade teacher, Ms. Vanderhei, played by Sigourney Weaver (although she is clearly in it for the action and nothing else).  Fortunately for Tim, his life is about to take a new turn, as the boss has given him the go ahead to attend an annual insurance convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Upon arriving in Cedar Rapids, Tim meets up with his roommates at the hotel.  They include mild mannered Ronald “Ronimal” Wilkes (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) and the obnoxious blowhard, Dean “Deansie” Ziegler (John C. Reily).  Both are convention veterans, along with the third usual member of this team, Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Anne Heche), who uses the time of this event as more of a vacation away from her regular life as a working wife and mother.  While Tim is just a newbie looking to score points for his own company, the various situations and characters he encounters during this convention are going to be moving him far away from his comfort zone.

What I enjoyed most about this film is exactly what it sets out to do – let you spend time with a good group of fellas, as they showcase some of their comedic talents without ever breaking the boundaries of reality.  Everything that occurs in this film seems like it could have actually taken place, as opposed to pushing things far too broad.  It works in some films better than others, and in Cedar Rapids it succeeds.  The film is less about over-the-top comedic set pieces and more about a lot of good quiet laughs, with some bigger punches along the way.  This is a fun set of characters, all acting like real people, and the movie is better for it.

Ed Helms does very solid work as the lead.  As he was very involved in the scripting of his character, one can expect him to use what works for him in other roles, such as Andy on The Office, to work for him here (basically meaning that gets to sing at one point).  However, he is still playing a different character than his other roles.  His role as Tim is a fun character who you really want to like due to his innocent nature, especially given how much he declares the little things in life to be “super awesome”.

The other actors all do good work as well.  John C. Reily is of course a natural comedic talent, and manages to make Ziegler a very crass man, always hitting some inappropriate marks, but still knows when it is time for the other actors to have the spotlight.  It also helps that beneath all his layers, the character of Ziegler really is a nice person, who sticks by his friends.  Also very fun is Whitlock as Ron, who manages to send up his own role on the HBO program, The Wire, by playing a character that is a big fan of that show.  It has the feel of an inside joke, but it’s the kind of detail that makes me admire the film more.  Finally, Anne Heche is surprisingly very well suited to be hanging around with these boys, as she displays some natural chemistry with the cast and has a fun time being involved.  A number of other comedic and character actors show up as well, which rounds out the film quite nicely.

Director Miguel Arteta has previously helmed other features that are based around quirky characters in obscure settings such as The Good Girl and Youth in Revolt.  This film is very much one that fits right into his filmography.  The humor is played very low key and the entire cast feels embodied in their characters.  Stylistically, there is not much going on, but this is very much a film about characters and funny banter.  The actual plot of the film, scripted by Phil Johnston, is more or less inconsequential, but clocking in just less than 90 minutes, the film never wears out its welcome.

I had a good time watching Cedar Rapids.  While good natured, the film has a lot of fun with being a low key, yet raunchy look at three guys and a gal getting a little wild at a Midwest work convention.  That, in itself, seems like a good enough reason to go seek out this flick.  I must also note that the film understands how much you will like seeing these guys together so much so that the credits do manage to have two additional scenes involving all of them.  It is those fun little bonuses that make you glad to feel like you’ve become friends with these people.


Cedar Rapids has been provided with an AVC-encoded 1080p transfer, which makes this low-budget comedy look super awesome.  Not exactly taking place in lavish settings or featuring pivotal scenes that extend themselves to great looking imagery, Cedar Rapids still manages to have a wonderful Blu-ray video presentation.  All of the actors have fine texture qualities, looking clear and detailed, which includes costumes and coloring.  Various settings all have the right amount of clarity, which includes the darker scenes.  The color palette is quite bland and leans towards browns and darker hues, yet the Blu-ray does a fine job in bringing out all it can from this setting anyway.  Not the prettiest film, but has a natural presentation that fits with the tone of the film.


Cedar Rapids is a very dialogue driven film, but that does not stop the audio presentation on the Blu-ray from doing the film justice.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is certainly efficient enough to properly deliver the required audio experience for viewing and listening to this movie.  All of the frequent dialogue comes across clear and the occasional music tracks and elevation of the score appropriately work their ways in well to the audio track as well.  The disc has done a proper job at appropriate mixing everything to provide an optimal and super awesome Blu-ray experience.  The disc is also equipped with a Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track, as well as English, Spanish, and French subtitle tracks.

Special Features:

While not jam packed with extras, I am still pleased enough that I will allow the labeling of this disc as the “Super Awesome Edition”.  There is a nice set of bonus features that do enough to supplement the film.  It also helps that the majority of the extras are presented in HD quality.  The lack of an audio commentary is unfortunate, as I am sure it would have been a lot of fun, but I still found some value in what has been provided.  Features include:

Deleted Scenes.  Usually not the most interesting extra to me, but there was actually one goodbye scene in here that was quite effective.

Gag Reel.  There are enough comedic personas to make this a lot of fun for five minutes.  Two practical jokes were also quite entertaining.

Convention Connection.  Several brief individual interviews with the various members of the cast, about their characters.

Mike O’Malley – Urban Clogger.  A behind the scenes look involving actor Mike O’Malley, as he learns a dance for the film.

Tweaking in the USA.  A look at a key sequence in the film.

Wedding Belles – Crashing a Lesbian Wedding.  Another short featurette concerning a particular sequence in the film.

Top Notch Commercial.  A fake insurance commercial.

Fox Movie Channel presents Direct Effect with Miguel Arteta.  A brief interview with the director.

Fox Movie Channel presents Writer’s Draft with Phil Johnston.  A brief interview with the writer.

BD-Live.  The disc is BD-Live enabled and has a few things, if you were to access it.

Digital Copy.  Take the film anywhere with you, via portable device.

Final Thoughts:

Again, I was happy to be able to revisit this film.  Cedar Rapids certainly is charming, while also serving as a fun, raunchy comedy with solid performances from its supporting cast and a nice lead opportunity for Ed Helms.  It has a dirty sense of humor but is held higher, in my opinion, due to its sweetness.  The Blu-ray is also super awesome, as the video and audio are stellar for a film such as this, and I found myself happy to take a look at all the special features, which can sometimes seem more like a hesitation for me.  It was enough for me to round up on the overall rating, because this film deserves it.  Certainly go an check out Cedar Rapids.

Feel free to click the link and purchase a copy here:


Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

3 Responses to “Cedar Rapids: The Super Awesome Edition (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Brian White

    Some day…I swear…I want to see this!

  2. Matt Goodman

    YEEEESS. Best surprise of 2011. One of my favorites.

  3. Jiminy Critic

    Liked this movie a lot! Fun…