We participated in the Sundance USA showing of Cedar Rapids at the Michigan Theater last night. It was great fun and great for the theater. It sold out all 1200 seats - the first time I have ever seen it completely full for a movie - at $15 each.
There was a fair amount ofAnn Arbor smugness and self-congratulation to be had but this did not spoil an excellent time. The organizers had flown in both the director of the movie, who led a spirited and interesting question and answer session after the film, and the mayor of Cedar Rapids, who, as he said, kept his remarks short because no one in the audience could vote for him. Sadly, they also allowed Ann Arbor mayor John Heftje to demonstrate his ignorance of the economics of subsidizing the movie industry (short version: there's no good reason to do it) at the end of the question and answer period.
The movie itself is delightful. I laughed a lot and I am sure it will be in my top five for 2011. The central ensemble of four characters, all insurance salespeople, clicks in just the right way. Sigourney Weaver's minor role is perfect as well, as is Alia Shawkat as the small town hooker. Overall, the movie does what it's director says it set out to do: to have fun with the midwestern innocence of the characters without making fun of them.
It's really quite easy.
3 years ago