Cedar Rapids

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Miguel Arteta’s indie comedy starts sweetly enough but becomes paradoxically stuck-up. Rating:

It’s not much of a stretch for Ed Helms to go from his mild-mannered dentist in The Hangover to the resolutely dorky insurance salesman here, led astray by wilder colleagues (Anne Heche, John C Reilly) and letting it all hang out at a cheerfully drab convention in Iowa.

Leaving aside some rather mangy cinematography, Miguel Arteta’s indie comedy starts sweetly enough but becomes ever broader, less plausible, and more paradoxically stuck-up as it goes along. It makes sense that the film’s produced by Alexander Payne and his writing partner, Jim Taylor (About Schmidt, Sideways), since it feels like an unready draft for one of their own movies — one with plenty of passing laughs, but some coarse overacting, not to mention a phoned-in, Capra-esque message of singular banality.

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