Cedar Rapids

Rated 3.0

Ed Helms capitalizes on his Hangover exposure to snag an above-the-title lead in Cedar Rapids, a modest comedy that earns more nods and smirks than honest laughs. Helms plays Tim Lippe, an honest but unconfident insurance salesman tapped to represent his company at an important convention, and a character that fits all too easily into what has quickly become Helms’ stock in trade (the tenuously repressed nebbish). There are hints of the dark and clever comedy of quiet desperation that Cedar Rapids tries not to become, but all too often they are undercut by easy gags and underdeveloped characters. With last year’s disastrous Youth in Revolt and now the so-so Cedar Rapids, director Miguel Arteta (Chuck & Buck) seems content churning out droll indie comedies like they were episodes in a sitcom. At least he assembled an appealing cast, including an in-form John C. Reilly as a blustery rival salesman.