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COMMENTARY: Insurance Agent Goes to Convention in "Cedar Rapids" Movie

By Annie George

Posted on 07 Mar 2011

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This weekend I went to see "Cedar Rapids", a movie about an insurance salesman who goes to his first convention and ends up facing a lot of, well, let's say, interesting encounters, in addition to getting a taste of a "different" side of life. As one reviewer said, it's the "Hangover" meets the "Office". It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it's both funny and hearfelt.

Played by Ed Helms (both of the "Hangover" and the "Office"), his character, Tim Lippe, is a small-town insurance agent from Brown Valley, Wisconsin, who has spent his life convincing clients that he's going to take care of them and always keeping his word. But, just as reliably, year after year, he never gets to go to the sought-after insurance agents convention. Instead the less-than-honorable star salesman Roger always goes...until that is Roger dies. Tim gets his chance, and is sent to the convention (first time on a plane!) with instructions to bring back the coveted two-diamond award.

It has several way-out moments, doesn't reflect any insurance conventions I've ever been too (not really), but the movie works with its charm (and at times crass humor, a la "Hangover") as we see the naivete of Tim's character navigate through this new world that is filled with some seedy characters.