miguel arteta

Calling Miguel Arteta

Calling Miguel Arteta

I recently googled “Miguel Arteta,” director of CEDAR RAPIDS, the new comedy about insurance executives attending a conference in the big city — Cedar Rapids, Iowa. My #1 hit was the movie section of a local Arkansas paper. The featured local film reviewer, “Big Screen Peter” of Fort Smith, is right out of … a Miguel Arteta movie. Or Alexander Payne. Big Screen Pete notes that CEDAR RAPIDS is not yet playing in the area, but he gives it a 4 out of 5 on his smile-meter, below:

As a filmmaker, I shudder at the lower part of the scale — the thin and dissatisfied lips of that menacing bottom image. THIS MOVIE SUCKS! What other art form is vulnerable to this sort of onslaught? THIS OPERA SUCKS! THIS PAINTING SUCKS! I don’t think so.

But indeed, I showed my students CHUCK AND BUCK (2000) a few weeks back — another Arteta work and in my view, a brilliant one — and I fear most of my trapped subjects were hitting Pete’s lower rungs.

CEDAR RAPIDS: A Film With Heart

CEDAR RAPIDS: A Film With Heart

Miguel Arteta’s CEDAR RAPIDS, which premiered Sunday night at the Sundance Film Festival, is garnering positive, if not rapturous, reviews. General consensus: The insurance-industry fish-out-of-water comedy, which stars Ed Helms, John C. Reilly, Anne Heche and Isiah Whitlock Jr.,  is slight, but sturdy, sweet and funny, with a lot of heart. A sampling of responses:…

Ed Helms to star in CEDAR RAPIDS at Sundance

Ed Helms to star in CEDAR RAPIDS at Sundance

Ed Helms as a lovable loser, John C. Reilly as a lovable buffoon, Anne Heche as a lovable redhead, and Isiah Whitlock Jr. as the lovable guy who gets the best lines. What’s not to look forward to in Miguel Arteta’s comedy about an insurance salesman (Helms) who learns about life beyond his small-town existence…