Friday, July 2, 2010


Although the story line of jealous Child versus Step-parent is nothing new, Fox Searchlight's Cyrus kicks things up a notch with some superb acting which never for a moment stops convincing us that these characters are real people with real drama.  Cyrus is full of laughs at the expense of unflattering moments and it appears that  Screenwriting/Directing brothers Jay and Mark Duplass have a Sleeper Hit on their hands.

John C. Reilly plays vulnerable John, who has never quite recovered from his divorce from ex-wife Jamie (Catherine Keener) seven years prior, even though he still remains friends with her despite her finding a new lover.  At her urging, John goes to a party to become acclimated once again with the world of Dating.  Despite lacking confidence, he does meet beautiful Molly (Marisa Tomei), with whom the sparks go a-flying.  Little does he know though that Molly has a full-grown son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill) with a dangerous Oedipus Complex, trying to sabotage her relationship with John.

The ensemble pairing of Tomei, Hill and Reilly is perfect.  Reilly plays vulnerability to perfection, while Tomei exudes pure radiance in her optimism and understanding; this meets her one film-per-every-two years quota, so enjoy it.  Hill, meanwhile delivers a career best performance with Cyrus' ruthless jealousy.  And despite the amusing Tom & Jerry-like antics between Reilly and Hill's characters, the film's ultimate moments are saved for late, where we get a couple moments of sincerity which almost seem too natural to have been scripted.  And if it weren't for Jas Shelton's purposefully shaky camera work and incessant nausea-inducing zooming in/out, this film would be just perfect.  Cyrus is now in wide release and a must-see.  Grade: A

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