"Cyrus" DVD, Blu-Ray Movie Review

12/20/2010 Posted by Admin


DVD, Blu-Ray Movie Review

Directed by Jay and Mark Duplass, Written by Jay and Mark Duplass, Rated-R, 91-minutes.

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

There are moments in Jay and Mark Duplass’ "Cyrus" that are reminiscent of Alexander Payne’s "Sideways." In this strange comedy, the slow-moving yet honest sequences of John C. Reilly struggling with middle-age and finding new life and love at 40 add a touching layer of reality.

Somehow, the brothers hold the tone steady when they introduce Cyrus, a 21-year-old mama’s boy with a serious Oedipal complex. Most surprisingly, by doing so, they don’t stifle the comedic sensibilities of their stars, but rather turn their crazed yells into soft spoken threats.

John C. Reilly plays John, a 40-year-old man spiraling into depression. On a whim, his ex-wife invites him to a party--there will be women there, she says, and since he’s on the verge of desperation, he accepts.

Several Red Bull Vodkas later, he meets Molly (played by the always endearing Marisa Tomei). She’s enamored with John, but her life, as they say, is complicated.

Curious, John heads over to her house, where he meets her son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill). Already turned off by Cyrus’ creepy conversation and abrasive techno compositions, John suspects Cyrus of stealing his shoes and sabotaging his new relationship.

As the film pushes forward, so does the competition between John and Cyrus.  Afraid his mother will leave him, Cyrus attempts to thwart her relationship with John by spreading misinformation, while John feigns understanding to win Molly’s sympathy. It’s a twisted relationship, but as performers, Reilly and Hill were made for each other.  They make the movie work.

Hill and Reilly offer more low-key performances than usual here. The Duplass brothers establish a more somber feel from the start and as a result, Hill and Reilly keep their competition to themselves. Their exchanges are awkward, to say the least, and considering Cyrus’ strange familial relationship, unsettling to say the most.

Hill turns Cyrus from the bizarre man-child into a creepy and sympathetic son with some serious issues, while Reilly plays it straight -- he’s awkward, sweet and hateful all in the right places. Both actors have fantastic comedic timing, which makes the film’s slower pace worthwhile.

The Duplass Brothers have made something bewildering with "Cyrus." By accepting the strengths of their cast and allowing that to complement their film’s mood, they give Hill and Reilly a new test for their sensibilities, and the audience something different to laugh at.

Grade: B+

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