07 July 2011

Movies: Cyrus

Cyrus (2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1336617/

Drama / Romance / Comedy

John has been divorced and living on his own for seven years now and never really moved beyond that 'just divorced' state. His ex tells him she's going to get married, which he is okay with for the most part. She convinces him to go to a party with her and her fiance. At the party he starts and fails at conversations with single ladies in attendance. Miserably fails, attempt after attempt. Except (gasp) one gal (Molly) happened to catch him peeing in the bushes. She tells him she overheard one of his attempts at conversation, then ends up going home with him.
After a couple more trysts John notices Molly keeps leaving in the middle of the night while he's sleeping, so he follows her home to try to figure out what's going on. While snooping around her back-yard he encounters Cyrus, Molly's 21-year old son that still lives at home. Turns out she's been a single mother Cyrus's whole life. She home-schooled him, he still lives at home, they have a daily life routine, and John has upset the balance. Cyrus seems to be taking his mother's budding relationship well, but after a couple of odd things John realizes Cyrus is actively, but stealthily, attempting to prevent the developing relationship between Molly and John.

Yep - that same old "child throws stick in the relationship spokes" story. The big difference being that the child is a full grown adult-child still living at home with mom.  Cyrus talks adult, but his actions speak otherwise.

Stars John C Reilly as John, Marisa Tomei as Molly, Jonah Hill as Cyrus. Plus Catherine Keener as John's ex-wife Jamie.  A good solid cast of comedic actors playing in an almost straight-up drama, and they all do well in their roles. Yep - the comedy in this film isn't played up, it just happens as a result of events and interactions. This isn't joke delivery time, nor slapstick time. Don't expect the John C. Reilly you usually see in comedies, don't expect to see the Jonah Hill you see in comedies. They play the parts serious. This isn't comedy of exaggerated absurdities like you'd see in The Hangover, it's comedy of subtleties. 

Filmed in a style called "mumblecore" - complete with handheld camera throughout, oddly timed cuts, angst. In reality it is low-budget production style and values with a sizable budget and established actors at their disposal. I have to say the hand-held tight camera shots got annoying and tedious quickly. I realize that's part of the 'charm' of the indie-low-budget-talkie dramas that are mumblecore, but it quickly annoyed me. I have no clue how much of the dialog was improvised, in keeping with mumblecore tradition, some stuff seemed more scripted than others. Not bashing on the cast, they did well.

In some ways I did like the film, in others I wasn't impressed with the film. I wasn't even expecting a comedy of exaggerations as one might expect in a cast with Reilly and Hill. The film was okay,  it had its amusing moments, but I would not have missed out on anything had I not watched it. I'm glad I waited until it hit Cinemax or whatever it was on to watch it instead of Netflixing the film. Saved me some mailbox turnaround time for a different film I might have enjoyed better. Although that isn't always the case (I'm looking at you, The Resident. Shame on you)

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