Cedar Rapids Movie Poster Image

Cedar Rapids



Raunchy comedy is packed with sex, drinking, and swearing.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main characters eventually improve their situation, using teamwork to find freedom, happiness, and self-respect, but the road they take to get there is quite iffy. Throughout the movie, their behavior is terrible, and they use underhanded means to bring down various hypocritical authority figures.

Positive role models

For the most part, these are the kinds of crude, underhanded characters that parents hope their kids never become -- although the hero, Tim, has a genuinely good heart and tries his best to uphold his personal values. But at the same time, the movie has a slightly condescending tone toward him.


Characters get in fights on more than one occasion, though very often they're more like clumsy wrestling matches than choreographed fistfights.


Heavy, almost non-stop sexual innuendo. The main character has sex with two women and makes out with a third. The first woman reveals that she has other partners. The second woman is already married, and the third woman is a prostitute. There's no female nudity, but males are seen topless, and other states of undress are implied (though no genitalia are shown). A minor character dies (off screen) of autoerotic asphyxiation.


Very frequent use of a wide and colorful array of swear words, including "f--k," "s--t," "t-ts," "p---y," "a--hole," "twat," "cornholing," "goddamn," "pube," "queef," "son of a bitch," "wiener," "d--k," "rug munchers," "muff diver," "poop chute," "c--k," "blow me," the "N" word," and "bastard," plus an exclamatory use of "Jesus Christ."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters pound shots of beer and/or hard liquor again and again, to the point of stumbling drunkenness. The main character smokes crack and enjoys it immensely. This is all played for comic effect.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this raunchy "hard R" comedy in the tradition of Animal House is about a group of men who cut loose and go crazy (some of them for the very first time) and then eventually take down a corrupt and hypocritical authority figure. The movie includes massive amounts of language, with some of the most creative and abundant swearing in ages. There's also heavy sexual innuendo and references to lots of sexual situations (multiple partners, adultery, prostitution, etc.). And there's heavy drinking, as well as use of hard drugs like crack. Thanks to a funny trailer and the presence of Hangover co-star Ed Helms, teens may be attracted to this envelope-pushing comedy, but it's really best left for adults.

What's the story?

Tim Lippe (Ed Helms) is a naive small-town insurance man. When his firm's star salesman unexpectedly dies, Tim is selected to go to a convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is expected to help his firm win the Two Diamond award for the fourth year in a row. Once there, Tim tries to do the right thing but falls in with a crowd of ne'er-do-wells, including party animal Dean Ziegler (John C. Reilly), flirty Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Anne Heche), and upright Ronald Wilkes (Isiah Whitlock Jr.). As Tim begins to have a good time, he also begins to discover greed, selfishness, and corruption on all sides. Can he come to terms with this harsh reality check and rise above it?

Is it any good?


Directed by Miguel Arteta CEDAR RAPIDS has a grungy, low-budget feel, but it's actually a perfect copy of Animal House's successful, decades'-old formula. Nerds cut loose, discover their true selves, and bring down hypocritical authority figures. The movie also uses its small-town setting more to ridicule its characters than to say anything funny or insightful about small-town life.

But while there's nothing surprising about the movie's story or plot, the characters are endearing and -- though not constantly funny, they're at least consistently funny. Cedar Rapids also has the fact that its characters are adults -- rather than teens -- setting it apart from other films in the Animal House mold. Although they may act like crazy college students, in their quiet moments, these are grown-ups with grown-up problems (divorce, loneliness, unsatisfying marriages, etc.). Overall, the movie has enough laughs and charm to ensure a good time ... for those mature enough to handle its content, that is.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's sexual situations. Which characters are looking for solid relationships, and which aren't? Why? What messages does the movie send about sex and relationships?

  • Characters drink and do drugs a lot in this movie. Why? What would the consequences for this behavior be in real life?

  • Are any of the characters in this movie role models? Why or why not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 11, 2011
DVD/Streaming release date:June 21, 2011
Cast:Anne Heche, Ed Helms, John C. Reilly
Director:Miguel Arteta
Studio:Fox Searchlight
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:crude and sexual content, language and drug use

This review of Cedar Rapids was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written byelijah.t July 3, 2011


Packed to the brim with sexual content. Lots of cursing and a lot of drinking. "It has the comedic content of an Al Qaeda hostage video" in other words its not funny. Highly don't recommend it. Instead do something more productive like sleep or watch it and sleep anyway.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bykeeyanoosh February 22, 2012

cedar rapids

cedar rapids is a very awesome movie!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 May 10, 2016

Helms just isn't a lead yet

Give him a few more years. He was a great co-lead in "The Hangover," a great supporting role in "We're the Millers," but Helms just isn't ready. He lends a definite, vulnerable likability to Tim Lippe, when he's not acting like a complete imbecile. But he is far from the problem. The problem honestly lies with the script. John C. Reilly has proven again and again his surreal, comedic worth, but this is his most annoying performance of all time. Almost everything that comes out of his mouth is vulgar, middle school humor. He does his best with what he's given. Anne Hache is decidedly enjoyable, a warm presence in a rather crass, sophomoric comedy. Helms and crew do go on wacky adventures in "Cedar Rapids," they just never amount to anything. Decisions characters make don't make sense. Helms is annoyingly naive. Too many distractions like this take away from the big picture. Skip "Cedar Rapids."
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking