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Overall Rating
3.62

Awesome: 4.76%
Worth A Look57.14%
Average: 33.33%
Pretty Bad: 4.76%
Total Crap: 0%

3 reviews, 3 user ratings


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Cyrus
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by Mel Valentin

"Mumblecore pioneers go mainstream."
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 53RD SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: Mumblecore pioneers and Sundance Film Festival veterans Jay and Mark Duplass ("Baghead," "The Puffy Chair") go mainstream (as in Hollywood mainstream) with their third feature-length film, "Cyrus," a comedy-drama that focuses on three socially awkward, dysfunctional characters and their halting, conflicting, contradictory steps toward balanced, healthy relationships. Before we get there, though, Jay and Mark Duplass take their characters and, by extension us, through a series of painful, humiliating encounters and life lessons, most borderline hilarious (in that “Thank God that’s not me” way).

Cyrus initially centers on John (John C. Reilly), a middle-aged, freelance editor with near-debilitating social shortcomings. He’s still hung on his ex-wife, Jamie (Catherine Keener), seven years after their divorce. When she announces that she’s marrying her fiancé, Tim (Matt Walsh), John goes into a severe funk. Despite the divorce, Jamie stills cares for John, going as far as inviting him to a party in the slim, dim hopes that he’ll meet someone. What follows is one clumsy encounter after another until, bolstered by too much alcohol, John meets Molly (Marisa Tomei) while he tries to pee in the bushes.

Molly doesn’t seem fazed by John’s boorish, obnoxious behavior, instead appreciating his openness and emotional vulnerability. When John sings along with a Human League song, it’s Molly who joins him. They stumble back to his apartment for a night of sloppy sex. Unwilling to wait the obligatory amount of time before contacting Molly for a second date, John follows her back to her place. There, he meets her 21-year old son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill). Cyrus, a musician with no visible means of support, still lives at home. Worse, he’s inappropriately attached to Molly and Molly, possibly out of guilt, possibly for reasons left unexplained, allows Cyrus to engage in inappropriate comments and behavior, including using the bathroom when she’s taking a shower.

Undaunted, John pursues a relationship with Molly who, oblivious to her son’s machinations to oust John from their lives, ends up as a pawn between the two men. Molly’s questionable behavior is one of Cyrus’ problems, relative to John and Cyrus who, despite their personality defects, behave in a recognizable, believable manner. Maybe the problem was the Duplass brothers’ screenplay, which leaves Molly underwritten or maybe it was the on-set improvisation that left Molly’s behavior unexplored, but whatever the source, it’s still a problem.

It’s less so for John who, as played by John C. Reilly, skirts unlikability multiple times, but never crosses that line. Cyrus’ borderline mentally ill behavior suggests the film is headed for a dark, "Something Wild"-inspired denouement, but to the Duplass’ credit, it doesn’t. Instead, it takes the characters through several, incremental self-realizations, all of them believable. For taking that particular path, the Duplass’ brothers deserve credit. If they could only learn how to write female characters and stop with the shaky cam, constant reframings, zoom-ins and zoom-outs, their future as independent filmmakers would be set.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=20113&reviewer=402
originally posted: 06/25/10 23:00:00
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2010 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2010 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Independent Film Festival Boston 2010 For more in the Independent Film Festival Boston 2010 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival For more in the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Provincetown International Film Festival For more in the 2010 Provincetown International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Seattle International Film Festival For more in the 2010 Seattle International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/04/11 Dan Boring. No real laughs, and I didn't think Tomei and Reilly had chemistry. 2 stars
7/16/10 damalc not funny enough to be a comedy. not serious enough to be a drama 3 stars
7/02/10 Ming One of the best film of the year. I laugh and cry on this movie. It is ace materials 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Jun-2010 (R)
  DVD: 14-Dec-2010

UK
  10-Sep-2010 (15)

Australia
  18-Jun-2010 (M)
  DVD: 14-Dec-2010


Directed by
  Jay Duplass
  Mark Duplass

Written by
  Jay Duplass
  Mark Duplass

Cast
  John C. Reilly
  Marisa Tomei
  Jonah Hill
  Catherine Keener



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