The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 87 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Stephen Root, Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Kurtwood Smith, Mike O'Malley, Alia Shawkat
Directed by: Miguel Arteta
Music by: Christophe Beck
Written by: Phil Johnston
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 21, 2011
"Today is the first dayof the rest of his weekend"
Shy and naive Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) ventures to the "big city" of Cedar Rapids for a convention and ends up crossing paths with the ultimate party animal (John C. Reilly). Before long, Tim is crashing parties, skinny-dipping in the hotel pool and being seduced by a sexy soccer mom. And if Tim can survive the weekend, he might just change his life forever!
I felt that the following synopsis released by Fox perfectly sums up this film's plot so I decided to include it. Tim Lippe (Helms) was the guy people always thought would go places but then he just ... didn't. He's been living in über-sleepy Brown Valley, Wisconsin his whole life, still "pre-engaged" to his 7th grade teacher Macy Vanderhei (Weaver), while selling insurance to protect other people's dreams. But now, Tim's stalled life is about to get a kick-start because, for the first time in his 34 years, he's headed to a "major" metropolis - Cedar Rapids, Iowa - where he must try to save his company at a do-or-die insurance convention that, for him, will be entirely unconventional. From the minute he checks into his hotel with his ancient American Tourister and cummerbund money belt, it's clear Tim has no idea how the modern world really works. He is soon smitten with seductive Nebraskan insurance agent Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Heche) and awed by his experienced roommates, the straight-shooting Ronald Wilkes (Whitlock Jr.) and the suspicious Dean Zeigler (Reilly)...
Cedar Rapids turned out to be much better than I anticipated. It is a conventional modern comedy that succeeds thanks to its carefully constructed characters that are molded into a series of archetypes that when thrown together make for a perfect match with the source material. There is some over the top tomfoolery and crass behavior but it is offset by good natured humor and amiable interaction that is wonderfully underscored by the cast. This character is tailor made for Ed Helms (who also served as Executive Producer) and he pulls it off in the same affable and warmly goofy fashion that makes him fun to watch. John C. Reilly seems to have found a niche playing comedic roles like this and is right on cue as the crude, loutish but somehow likeable Deanzie. I have never found Anne Heche to be particularly attractive but I enjoyed her charming allure and pitch perfect timing here. The last piece of the primary ensemble is Isiah Whitlock Jr. whose expressive face and straight man delivery instantly won me over. Smaller roles filled by Alia Shawkat, Sigourney Weaver, Mike O'Malley, Stephen Root, and Kurtwood Smith lent credibility along with a few choice moments to the proceedings. I think what I like most about this film is that it eschews going the route of typical one note comedy in favor of focusing on the genuineness found in the interpretative correlation of the characters while creating a rewarding balance between good natured humor, crass behavior and life's sometimes profound but awkward moments. If you appreciate quirky, off-kilter comedies Cedar Rapids gets it right.
The rating is for crude and sexual content, language and drug use.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Cedar Rapids comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.
This is a pleasing high definition presentation that exhibits video quality that is consistent with a newer release film on Blu-ray Disc. This film is adorned by a permeating sepia toned aesthetic that combines with its use of autumn colors, mainly browns, beiges, and reds, to set the thematic tone intended by the filmmakers. It rarely makes for eye catching imagery but the results are pleasing. Fleshtones tend to look a little bronzy but otherwise fall in line with the film's visual elements. Contrast is spot on and blacks are fairly delineated and deep. Images are crisp and resolute with defining sharpness that provides appreciable dimension. The video is whistle clean and shows no obvious signs of compression errors or video related anomalies.
The front heavy lossless surround mix features dialogue that is full bodied with defining tonal characteristics and prominent soundstage position. High level detail is readily apparent as subtle sound effects, music and voices were rendered with superior clarity and depth. There is little call for surround activity and extended dynamics however there are a few instances that provide a discernable level of spatial envelopment accompanied be punchy low frequency enhancement.
- (HD) 6 deleted scenes
- (HD) Gag reel - 4minutes
- (HD) Convention connection - seven brief segments where cast members discuss their respective characters and set experiences
- (HD) Mike O'Malley - Urban Clogger - 3 minute featurette
- (HD) Tweaking in the USA - 6 minute production feauturette
- (HD) Wedding Belles: Crashing a lesbian wedding - 4 minute production featurette
- Top notch commercial - 1 minute ad featuring Ed Helms in character
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- Fox Movie Channel presents: Direct Effect - Miguel Arteta
- Fox Movie Channel presents: Writer's Draft - Phil Johnston
- BD-Live: Live Extra's - * Exclusive* Ed Helms mad chopper skills
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc
Cedar Rapids is an entertaining modern comedy that eschews going the route of typical one note slapstick/facetiousness in favor of focusing on the genuineness found in the interpretative correlation of the characters while creating a rewarding balance between good natured humor, crass behavior and life's sometimes profound but awkward moments. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox in this Super Awesome Edition that features satisfying high definition audio/video quality and middling supplemental material, including exclusive content and a digital copy, which is more fluff than substance. I have added it to my collection and recommend it to those that appreciate quirky, off-kilter comedies.
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