MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
John (John C. Reilly) is a divorced man in his 30s who sees his life ticking away when he learns his ex-wife is getting married. He meets a great woman named Molly (Marisa Tomei) at a party, and they start a relationship. Soon, he discovers that Molly has an adult son named Cyrus (Jonah Hill) who commands her attention. As John falls deeper in love with Molly, the feud between him and Cyrus threatens all of their relationships.
WHAT I LIKED
This is the kind of movie that you see not so much for the story or the situations, but rather for the actors. It’s loaded with fantastic performances, anchored by John C. Reilly, who is one of the most unconventional but strangely charming leading men in Hollywood. The interaction between him and Hill is brilliant, sometimes subtle and sometimes over-the-top.
Likewise, Tomei continues to be adorable and appealing as a love interest, and Catherine Keener does a great job as John’s non-estranged ex-wife.
Ultimately, “Cyrus” is one of those comedies in which great performers are thrown together in a terribly awkward situation. It’s fun to watch, and even more so, it offers you a look at a totally dysfunctional relationship that allows you to look at the relationships in your own life and breathe a sigh of relief.
There is also a neat aspect to a film like this in that, with a few exceptions of minor set pieces, it could exist at any time. It does not have to take place in 2010, but it is timeless to the modern age. There’s something to respect from a filmmaking perspective about a movie that doesn’t date itself.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The biggest problem with “Cyrus” from my perspective is that it doesn’t go far enough. I’m not expecting a Will Ferrell comedy or anything, but there were plenty of moments where it felt like the characters could have been even bigger in their dysfunction. In a strange way, it felt like the directors were trying to make this too real of an experience, and in the process they sacrificed some of the potential comedy.
Also, as someone who has lived his whole life in the Midwest, watching a film like this that is so drenched in L.A. culture can be frustrating. Similar to “Greenberg” earlier this year, “Cyrus” could only exist in L.A. because of the underlying neuroses of the characters. I know these types of people live all over the nation – and the world, in fact – but the movie revels in its narcissistic and over-analyzed culture.
The Blu-ray comes with two deleted scenes featuring more awkwardness with Reilly and Hill. There’s also a Q&A segment with directors Jay and Mark Duplass as well as a spotlight on them when they took the film to the South-by-Southwest Film Festival.
Additional features include a music mash-up with Reilly and Hill, plus two “In Character” spotlights from the Fox Movie Channel, featuring Reilly and Hill.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of the awkward situational comedy.