The seasoned award-winning film director Miguel Arteta teams up with screenwriter Phil Johnston to bring to the silver screen Cedar Rapids. Their comedy explores the happenings and impact of people representing their work at annual business conventions and the great lengths they take in order to have fun. Arteta had always heard about reputation that those who attended the insurance conventions knew how to party. In researching material for Cedar Rapids, he can attest to the fact that they definitely know how to have fun.
An annual convention for insurance sales people held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa brings together colleagues from around the country to interface with each other regarding their business operations. The majority of the convention attendees are bent on using the event as escapism from their mundane lives. It’s a highlight of their year and a time to party. Relationships develop year after year but the friendships are only fostered at the time of the yearly event making way for strange activities to occur. The yearly roundez-vous is regarded as memorable a reunion. Tim Lippe (Ed Helms), a small town, naive, and by-the-book salesman is sent by his company to the annual convention as their representative. Lippe will represent the company well because of his high moral code and they hope his conduct will put them in a position to receive the highest honor given to a company while at the convention. Lippe meets veteran Dean Ziegler (John C. Riley), who introduces him, to veterans Joan Ostrowski-Fox (Anne Heche) and Ronald Wilkes (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.). Dean, Joan and Ronald befriend Lippe and show him what the convention life is all about but they not prepared for Lippe to teach them a few things that would put a whole new meaning on their memorable weekend.