John, a middle-aged down-on-his-luck divorcee, meets a beautiful woman he thinks is way out of his league. Improbably, she digs him. The only trouble is her adult son, who just can't let go, and she doesn't seem to see a problem with their total lack of boundaries.
The Duplass brothers follow up their quirky independent films The Puffy Chair and Baghead with an off-beat romantic comedy. While more conventional than their earlier efforts, and with a bigger budget and stars, the film still feels as fresh and intimate and real as anything they've done, and is quite funny without ever quite becoming the farce it initially seems it could become. It is over-the-top - it falls squarely within the romantic comedy genre, after all - but it feels much more authentic than, say, something like The Hangover or Superbad or Knocked Up. In spite of a bigger budget, they are still working on a similar scale, and in a similar style as their previous two films, and remain focused on a situation defined by character rather than plot. The performances, especially those delivered by the three main leads (John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, and Jonah Hill), are honest and raw and utterly convincing. The style and look, with intimate handheld camera work, fits the story that is being told. In spite of its simplicity, and its spontaneous feel, the writing is actually quite clever - for example, in the way that the relationship between John and his best friend and ex parallels that between his new lover and her son. It feels too small to be a masterpiece or classic, but I liked it quite a bit, and will definitely look forward to what the Duplass brothers do next.
CYRUS Written and Directed by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass Starring John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei and Catherine Keener John: I know you’re not supposed to say this but I really like you. Is it crazy for me to say I want it to work out? Love is tricky to figure out, to piece together so that it actually works out for all parties involved. Love is particularly tricky when you’re middle-aged, have been single for seven years, you’re … more
Cyrus is a movie that flourishes as a warm feeling of both solitude and gratitude. At first I thought the story is just another dark drama but at the end it turned out to be a dark dramatic comedy. Of course the premise is kind of silly and unnatural since you are left in the middle of the story too fast with too little to follow but in time, the great execution raises the quality of the movie. It's not a great film, dazzling visually or incredibly expressive but it's … more
If there ever was a movie for which the viewer needs to adjust their expectations before going in, it's CYRUS. The trailers for the film imply a small, but funny & antic comedy with Jonah Hill (SUPERBAD), John C. Reilly (STEP BROTHERS) and Marisa Tomei (MY COUSIN VINNY). Why did I pick those movies to put next to each performer? Because those are the kinds of performances that the trailers imply you will see. Instead, we get a small, wry and occasionally uncomfortable drama … more
Mumblecore auteurs the Duplass brothers (Baghead,The Puffy Chair) dip their toes in the precarious waters of Hollywood by casting well-known actors inCyrus. But their devotion to clumsy, uncomfortable people remains: John (John C. Reilly,Step Brothers) has barely left his apartment in the seven years since Jamie (Catherine Keener,Lovely & Amazing) divorced him, so Jamie demands he come to a party--where, miraculously, he meets Molly (Marisa Tomei,The Wrestler), who seems like the woman of his dreams. Unfortunately, Molly comes with some baggage: her 22-year-old son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill,Superbad). To say Molly and Cyrus are close is an understatement, and John finds himself in a battle of wills with Molly as the prize. The Duplass brothers seek a kind of cinematic simplicity--to call it purity would be too highbrow for these aggressively pedestrian filmmakers--and when it works, it brings the viewer in intimate contact with life in its ordinary, essential glory. When it doesn't work, it's just dull. Despite its flatfooted plot,Cyrusworks pretty well. The higher caliber of the cast helps--Reilly, Tomei, Hill, and Keener are all excellent, and much of the movie is genuinely funny. Don't expect elegance, but sometimes, something plain can please.--Bret Fetzer