Friday, November 11, 2011


Riva/Presents Extra author Heidi Rice gets all warm and glowy about a naughty little gem of a movie - which has some terrific things to say about friendship.

Now, I had originally planned to do a post this month on the new Jane Eyre movie with the delicious Michael Fassbender as Edward Rochester. And while that movie was a wonderfully evocative new version of Charlotte Bronte's gothic romance (and Michael was suitably brooding and delicious), I bet you've all already seen it, or are planning to see it. So instead I decided to point you all in the direction of a small, indie movie which most of you have probably never heard of.

On the surface Cedar Rapids is a film about the rather dull subject of insurance salesman — who, let's face it, genuinely get a pretty bad rap on the big screen (Double Indemnity anyone?) — but what it's really about is never judging people before you know them and the importance of true friendships. Which are pretty big subjects for such a small movie.

So to kick off, Ed Helms is the naive, straitlaced and rather po-faced small town salesman who genuinely believes in the product he's selling, but has always been in the shadow of his more charismatic colleague - the local office's top salesman who journey's every year to the industry's annual convention — dominated by a hopelessly pompous and moralistic big-wig who thinks that God is somehow intricately involved with the workings of the insurance industry. But then Ed's ultra-successful and clean-cut colleague meets a sudden (and surprisingly tawdry) end on the eve of the big convention and the naive Ed is packed off in his stead. Determined to do his best to win the coveted Gold Award, Ed is given strict instructions not to mess up, and most important of all not to befriend the crude, lewd and decidedly unstraitlaced John C Reilly.

Needless to say, Ed's big convention starts to go instantly awry once he's sharing a room with the incorrigible Reilly and gentle giant Isiah Whitlock Jr. Under Reilly, Whitlock Jr and the zany Anne Heche's tutelage pretty soon Ed's doing karaoke, getting plastered, skinny dipping in the hotel pool, having a one-night stand, befriending prostitutes, being beat-up by biker gangs in crack houses and generally discovering that making new friends can be awesome (if at times a little scary). Best of all Ed discovers the very important point that just because a person drinks too much, smokes too much, swears like a trooper and has the crudest sense of humour on the planet, it doesn't necessarily make them a bad person. And similarly, the more po-faced and vocally moralistic among us aren't necessarily good people either.

It's a sweet, smart and at times rauccously funny feel-good movie with a wonderfully soulful message (and a couple of good in-jokes for fans of The Wire, like Moi). I'd highly reccommend it, although if you don't like your dialogue fruity you may want to turn down the volume at times.

Heidi's latest book — the sweet, sexy and soulful festive romance On the First Night of Christmas — is out now in the UK and soon to hit shelves in the US. You can contact her on her blog, her facebook page, her website or on Twitter (@HeidiRomRice).


  1. You're right, never heard of it before, but it sounds right up my street! Love films like that. Thanks for the recommendation, Heidi.

  2. You're welcome Doris, I loved it.. The irreverent rather rude humour was right up my street too!

  3. Irreverent rude humor? I love it already. Can't wait to see it. Thanks, Heidi!

  4. See Aimee, I had a feeling you'd appreciate this movie!!!

  5. Hi Heidi. We were laughing at work about this movie. I'm in the insurance industry and currently work for brokers. The trailer looked hilarious as! I enjoyed your review and will def go check out the movie lol

  6. Oh TashNz you must check it out... It showed the world a whole new side to insurance salesmen, I can tell you!