Cedar Rapids well worth the price of a ticket

It could have turned out to be just another take on ‘bumbling naïf gets landed in situation beyond his comprehension and does silly things’, but thanks to some excellent performances and inspired direction, “Cedar Rapids” turns out to be a really engaging film.
Tim Lippe, of “The Daily Show”, “Hangover”,” The Office”, etc. has the role of Ed Helms, an amazingly unsophisticated insurance salesman from Wisconsin.  Ed has never even been on a plane when he’s called upon to represent his Brown Star company at the big convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  He shares a hotel suite with ‘fun-loving’ and often inebriated Dean Zeigler, played to the hilt by John C. Reilly, and Ronald Wilkes, uptight Midwesterner with nuance supplied by Isiah Whitlock in the role of straight man.
Sigourney Weaver is Ed’s love interest, in this case his grade-school teacher who is now having an affair with him, and she doesn’t get much chance to parade her “Alien” talents.  Anne Heche is the third conventioneer as Joan Ostrowski-Fox, a fairly outrageous character who’s helping to bring poor befuddled Ed up to speed.
The overall impression is that everyone had a good time making this film.  In an interview with IMDb, Anne said that the great part about working with Ed as Tim Lippe was seeing his “good heart” amongst all the rowdy, careless bonhomie of a typical convention.  She said it was funny but “heartbreaking” to watch the simple, upright salesman dealing with craziness and raunch, without falling victim to hardening of the heart.