This piece opens with a several second shot of the Cedar River. This shot is bisected by a bottle of liquid. This represents the duality of nature towards man. It is a provider, giving life to humanity and every other species. However, it is also capable of great destruction. The liquid in the bottle is brown-orange, furthering this dual symbolism. Orange is a color associated with energy and flamboyance, while brown is associated with stability and comfort. The bridge and the concrete surface visible in this shot are representative of mankind's attempt to conquer nature. Man builds bridges to circumvent rivers and places concrete over grass.
The next shot features a dejected Hillary Clinton saying "I'm just chillin' in Cedar Rapids." She forces a smile, even though her tone divulges her true feelings. She is surrounded by modern fixtures: an apartment building with several dozen stories, an automobile, a street lamp. However, despite being in the presence of all of these things, she is unhappy.
What Mrs. Clinton is attempting to convey is that, through technological advancement, we have lost our connection with nature, thereby losing our humanity. She would have us attempt to rekindle this relationship by beginning to step away from this technology-oriented lifestyle.
This work was met with universal acclaim from critics. Neil Genzlinger of the New York Times called it a "message that we all know to be true, yet refuse to acknowledge in our daily life."
'Cedar Rapids' currently holds a rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and 91% on Metacritic.