If one things can be said about Ed Helms, he plays his type well. Basically the same square-dweeb turned party animal that he played in The Hangover and The Hangover II, Helms is Tim Lippe (pronounced Lip-y) in Cedar Falls, the name of this movie and also the location of the annual insurance conference that serves as the center of the action.
This is actually a brilliant concept for a movie. An insurance conference? The comedic possibilities seem endless. And while there could have been more fall-out-of-your-seat-laughing moments, the characters are so lovable that it's impossible to not get caught up cheering for them.
Lippe has never been on an airplane before, so the run-of-the-mill chain hotel seems like a wonderland to him. This is clear from the moment he arrives and hesitates to give the desk person his credit card for incidentals to the Chevy Chase-like moment when he and the gang break into the indoor pool in the center of all the rooms in the middle of the night.
He rooms with a seemingly slimy, but actually much deeper, John C. Reilly and straight man Isiah Whitlock Jr. And he gets in all kinds of situations with a winning trifecta of ladies, Anne Heche, Sigourney Weaver, and Alia Shawkat (from Arrested Development).
An interesting tidbit: Iowa, where the real Cedar Rapids is located, failed to secure the film a tax credit, so the whole movie was actually done in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Although Helms' never seems funny to me in late-night talk show interviews, his winning streak with The Daily Show, The Office, The Hangovers, and this movie is a thing of beauty.
***1/2 out of ***** stars