By Sam Struckhoff
PICKS OF THE WEEK
“Cedar Rapids” (R) — This adult comedy takes the more heartfelt approach to its sometimes raunchy material. Small-town insurance salesman Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) is called up to the big leagues in the most important moment of his life so far — an insurance convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The real action, however, focuses on the 20-years-too-late coming-of-age story of a timid manchild.
Helms delivers a good performance as the excitable but clueless insurance salesman. You may recognize him from “The Hangover” or even “The Office,” in which he plays an excitable but clueless paper salesman. Be careful not to let Helms’ dopey likability deceive you, “Cedar Rapids” is a movie bent on taking boyish innocence into seedy territory.
With a solid supporting role held up by John C. Reilley, “Cedar Rapids” squeezes laughs out of awkward moments and the antics of the intoxicated. But not everyone will be on board with this brand of comedy. The movie doesn’t make a clear distinction between when to feel sad and when to point and laugh, and the two often overlap. Many of the biggest laughs come right as the audience is most weirded out — but such is the realm of John C. Reilley.
“The Adjustment Bureau” (PG-13) — This is the movie that dares to ask: Can the power of love defeat mystery men who control the world? If that doesn’t sound like a real question to you, then you could be bored by “The Adjustment Bureau.” David (Matt Damon) and Elise (Emily Blunt) fall immediately in love, only to find that a shadowy organization has other plans for them.
This is another adaptation of a work by science-fiction author Phillip K. Dick. Like many of its siblings, “The Adjustment Bureau” struggles to give a straight-faced explanation of its sci-fi elements, and it all comes off as a bit silly. Dick’s stories often question the nature of truth and reality, but this movie is mostly about two attractive people — with great chemistry — who are determined to be together, no matter what wonky premise tries to pull them apart.
“Kiss Me Deadly” (1955) (NR) — This fine specimen of film noir gets a Criterion Collection release worth noting. Before the hard-boiled detective movie could become a parody of itself, “Kiss Me Deadly” set a standard with the fastest-pace, seediest joints, sleaziest characters and the anti-est anti-hero to ever take a case.
“The Closer” The Complete Sixth Season
“Medium” The Seventh and Final Season
“Rocko’s Modern Life” Season 1
“Bleach Uncut” Box Set 9
“Squidbillies” Season 4
“Louie” Season One
© 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.