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Picks and Pans Main: Movies

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Cedar Rapids

Ed Helms, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Anne Heche, John C. Reilly | R |


Ed Helms must be a generous guy, because if I were making my first foray into Leading Man Land, I wouldn’t let a scene-stealer like Reilly anywhere near me. Helms is perfectly cast as genial (if slightly unbelievable) naif Tim Lippe, an insurance salesman at his first convention. But Reilly is richly hilarious as the profane one in a group of gin-soaked conventioneers (including a sweetly funny Whitlock) who decide to show Tim a felonious but well-intentioned good time. It takes a while for the fun onscreen to translate into laughs, but once they start, they don’t let up.

The Eagle

Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell | PG-13 |


Marcus (Tatum, below) is the tall one. That’s key, since nothing else distinguishes the grim, loyal soldier from Esca (Bell), his grim, loyal slave. They’re personality-free as they search for a bronze eagle, the Roman army standard, lost by Marcus’ father. Cobbled together from Gladiator, Braveheart and other movies, The Eagle never develops much of a personality either.


How does Gnomeo & Juliet (now playing) stack up against The Smurfs (Aug. 3)?