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Cyrus (2010)

June 21, 2010

7/10 Father Figures

Seriously awkward and pretty darn funny.

Cyrus is about a single guy who’s been lonely and depressed for seven years since his ex-wife dumped him, but then one night all that changes when he hits it off with a gorgeous woman at a singles party. He likes her, she likes him, but then he meets her strange, deadbeat twenty-something son who immediately starts messing with his head in the hopes that it’ll break them up and get him out of the picture for good. As you might expect, things get weird.

Simple enough premise, but a good premise all the same. I appreciate a movie that knows its limitations and works with its strengths, wish more movies had that sense.

It’s written and directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, two dudes who are apparently shredding up the indie scene at the moment (did hear good things about their last movie Baghead) and this is very much in that same indie vein. Nothin’ fancy going on here in terms of eye candy, just a lot of simple handheld camerawork that wobbles like gangbusters, gets a bit trigger happy with the zoom function and falls in and out of focus at a moment’s notice. Whatever, the visuals aren’t the point – even though they were making my friend borderline nauseous after a certain point – it’s really about the “script” and the cast with this one.

And the reason I threw quotes up there isn’t because this is a poor script or anything, it’s just that I’d be a bit surprised if there was actually a physical script to work off of. It feels more like the brothers Duplass huddled the cast together, told them the general direction of how the plot was gonna flow, everyone nodded politely, someone yelled “Action!” and then they all sorta winged it. Anyone who’s ever spoken in public knows that the cardinal rule of not sucking is to not wing it, but the reason it works is ’cause this cast seems to know a thing or two about improvising.

First there’s John C. Reilly as our potential suitor, John. Man, I like John C. Reilly, he’s a funny dude and he’s hard not to like even if it seems like he’s all too often playing second fiddle. John’s vaguely pathetic and charming nature seems like custom fit for Reilly and it only gets better when he finally starts to break out of his shell, feel more comfortable in his own skin and get pissed the hell off.

Then there’s Jonah Hill as Cyrus, and I’ve already gone off about how funny I think that kid is. Not to beat a dead horse, but this is just further evidence of why it bugs the hell out of me when people write him off as a Seth Rogen knockoff. And it’s a different role for him, far more subtle than the stuff we’re used to seeing from him and a lot of his best scenes more or less break down to him staring at John C. Reilly and making wildly innappropriate attempts at humor by asking him to not fuck his mom at their first “family” dinner. Also gives him some breathing room to get serious and he nails that, too. So way to go, Jonah.

And rounding out the trio is Marisa Tomei as the object of everyone’s desire, Molly. I’ve never really known what to think of Tomei, but for some reason I’m now totally convinced and I thought she was just fantastic here. Felt very natural, the laid back look suits her quite well and, good lord, has time been kind to that woman.

So the cast is on point, that much has been established, but they’re great because it feels like they’re just shooting the shit instead of reading off a prompter. Granted, the humor here is for the most part very uncomfortable and cringe-inducing, mostly because you never really know what the hell is up between Cyrus in his mom (I was really expecting a bizarro incest plot line, but thank the lord that didn’t happen), but it can also be damn funny and the actors make it feel perfectly natural. Beautiful when that happens.

The only trick with Cyrus is that I wish it were more consistent. When it’s on, it’s an easy 8, but I’d say it’s only there for about 60-70% of the time and when it’s off, it noticably drags. The first Act is great and it only gets better when we’re introduced to Cyrus, but then there’s a stint where it’s pretty much just John C. Reilly and Marisa Tomei getting hot and heavy without any real laughs and the pacing starts to meander.

But like I said, good stuff all in all thanks to solid performances and a surprisingly honest story that only gets better. Not the funniest movie of the year, but it’s great to see these three do their thing and do it well. Isnt’ it about time John C. Reilly got his due?


18 Comments leave one →
  1. June 21, 2010 12:51 am

    I LOVE the Duplas Brothers… gotta see this! And they do work alot off improv and streamlined scripts.

    • June 21, 2010 7:59 am

      Man, I feel so out of the loop. What else have they done outside of Baghead?

  2. June 21, 2010 3:52 am

    Looks good, Duplas Brothers make some good films. So im doing my best to see this one no doubt.

  3. Darren permalink
    June 21, 2010 7:45 am

    I’ve been looking forward to this one, just because of that damn cast.

    • June 21, 2010 7:59 am

      Yeah, they’re the bomb, man. Pretty choice movie and they really drive it.

  4. June 21, 2010 1:48 pm

    Seriously, don’t fuck my mom. Absolutely hilarious line!

    • June 21, 2010 1:50 pm

      Hahaha, that was good. Loved that scene when he was playing his music for John C Reilly too. That stare!

  5. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    June 22, 2010 11:36 am

    Jonah Hill looks like a serial killer more in some films than others. “Cyrus” is one of those films where I wouldn’t want to be in a room alone with him. But I do love John C. Reilly, so if “Cyrus” makes it to Charlotte I will be first in line to see it!

    • June 22, 2010 11:37 am

      Haha, you have no idea. Hill is in a constant death staring match with the world in this one. Very strange but very funny.

  6. Oliver permalink
    September 13, 2010 12:52 am

    7/10?? This movie was crap with a capital C. The kid played up with his mum’s date, then “5mins” later essentially says I’m sorry I’m just f#cked up and the credits run. It’s like they decided the movie would be a good idea then changed their minds halfway through and went to the pub instead. Total let down waste of money at the cinema, and waste of a potentially good flick. 7/10?? What did you give Expendables? The same? Another poor show.Are these independant reviews or are you paid? Do you even watch the whole film? If you had to drop your own money and a night out to watch this film, you would never give it 7/10.

    • September 13, 2010 7:20 am

      Good lord, Oliver. I actually did drop my own money on this, watched the whole thing, was not having an illicit affair with anyone in the cast at the time so as to sway my opinions, and I actually did like it, as crazy as that may sound. Yeesh, didn’t mean to personally offend you. Haven’t seen Expendables yet either, but I’ll get back to you on that one, God forbid I actually like that, too. Man, swell comment to wake up to this morning.

  7. Robbie permalink
    September 13, 2010 11:06 am

    I went to see this movie last night. And I have to agree with alot of what Oliver has said, because With John C Reilly and Jonah Hill together. I was expecting one of the funniest movies of the year.Man was i wrong. I just cannot understand why they would agree to make such a movie after reading that script. Stick to what your good at guys. Movies that make people laugh. I did laugh at Cyrus But on the ride home and NOT in a good way !

    • September 13, 2010 11:13 am

      haha. it’s not a comedy for everyone and it’s awfully weird, but I guess that’s why I dug it. I actually don’t think there was much of a script outside of just a general idea as to where to take the script, and I can see definitely see how that wouldn’t gel with everyone. Well, different strokes for different folks, I suppose. Thanks for visiting though, man.

  8. Darryl permalink
    September 16, 2010 9:39 am

    My girlfriend and I went to watch this movie lastnight after seeing trailers for it when we watched the A-Team. We both thought it would be a good movie to see. What a let down though. I’m really glad I had this under a two-for-one deal and didn’t have to fork out £15 on the movie. The best parts of this movie were all in the trailer and I believe the way they linked the trailer together made this movie out to be hilarious, which it most certainly wasn’t. I fell asleep a few times as I was that bored and considered walking out. When the end credits rolled the back crowd of teenagers cheered and clapped…..I believe they were over the moan that the film had finally ended. When walking out every comment I overheard was how awful the movie was. I really wish I had gone and seen Grown-Ups or Knight and Day.

    • September 16, 2010 9:54 am

      Man, there is a surprising amount of hate being sent towards this movie at the moment. Did it just get released in the UK? Maybe it’s an American thing, but sorry it was such a disappointment, that always sucks. Was anyone in the crowd laughing along at least? I think I should do a study on this, like how Britains apparently always choose Life of Brian while Americans apparently always choose Holy Grail. And thanks for visiting!

  9. penismunchcyrus permalink
    December 21, 2010 10:40 pm



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