JOHN C. RIELY JONAH HILL MARISA TOMEI CATHERINE KEENER
In the quirky vein of films like Lars and the Real Girl or Little Miss Sunshine, Cyrus is a really great blend of comedy and drama with a unique concept. Oscar nominee Reilly and Oscar winner Tomei do great work here and make their characters appealing and honest. Jonah Hill (Superbad, Get Him to the Greek) finally steps in a different direction, outside his redundant character stereotype. Cyrus is the type of hybrid film that The Golden Globes adore when it comes to nominations for their comedy categories and I expect acting nominations for their performances. Cyrus is likely to be a surprise summer sleeper because it really does have that appeal like Lars and Sunshine that can appeal to a wide range of demographics.
After his divorce seven years ago John (Reilly) finally faces the fact that his ex-wife and best friend (Keener) is moving on with her current fiancé. It’s at an engagement party where John meets the delightful Molly (Tomei) whom he falls for very quickly. Their relationship gets even more interesting when John meets Cyrus (Hill) the 21 year old son. The intense mother/son relationship throws John for quite the loop. After a pair of his old sneakers disappears, John begins to realize that much of Cyrus’s behavior is derived from his jealousy of having another man in the house and stealing attention. The two men becomes fierce rivals for Molly’s attention with both heading for disaster through severe immaturity.
Where these type movies succeed the most is the careful combination of a ridiculous, almost SNL skit like theme inside a story frame that explores character development most comedies lack. Casting was also paramount to this film’s success, for instance this would have been an entirely different film with Will Ferrell in the leading role. While Reilly (Chicago, Talladega Nights) certainly has a ridiculous side to him, he unlike Ferrell can play roles that actually resemble humans. I think this is one of Riley’s better performances. Easily the most subdued role for Hill without question, and every time Tomei is on screen the air and scene feels fresh and more enjoyable.
A segment in the film comes when Molly must choose to believe what her boyfriend is telling her or her son, and it’s a crossroads for the films originality. Thankfully the writers and director are willing to explore more original and less traveled ideas. The film does have a predictable conclusion but it’s getting to that conclusion where the film must display clever ideas and unique strategy. It’s a fun and light laugh at the movies during sea of blockbusters and special effects this summer.
Final Thought – A toned down dark comedy with plenty of clever laughs.
By: Dustin Chase W
Editor: Jennifer Gih