A blog about movies and filmmaking.

If You Had Been Breast-fed Til You Were Six

In comedy on June 15, 2010 at 12:52 pm

The Duplass Brothers, who have created a movie career by using their own filmic techniques and off-kilter sense of humor. Their newest movie, CYRUS – the first produced with an actual studio; using well-known actors – still manages to keep the independent and stylistic choices that they’ve become known for.

The movie, stars John C. Reilly as John, a man who has spent the last seven years in a slump since his wife left him – and is now getting remarried. She forces him to come to her engagement party, where she can introduce him to some other women. It’s here that John meets Molly – played by Marisa Tomei. They have a drunken fling and John pretty much falls for her by the next morning. They develop a fairly quick relationship – and amazingly enough, it’s fairly believable despite the seeming aesthetic imbalance of the beautiful Tomei and well, the not so, Reilly. But, a wrench is thrown into things when John meets Molly’s son, Cyrus (played by Jonah Hill) – a 21 year-old, overly sheltered man-child.

The movie is actually misleading as you think it’s going to be a laugh-riot full of stupid jokes, and awkward moments. And well, okay, it is that too. But there’s a deep heart to these characters as well. John is a man who has been broken, finds himself over-sharing information and too awkward to interact with most women. Molly is a woman who has seemingly grown older, only having her son to share her life with – and perhaps putting a little too much effort into her relationship with her son. Which becomes the main conflict of the movie, when John is moving in on Cyrus’ territory. The movie has the hints that maybe there’s a little more to the mother/son relationship than just being that; but it never goes there – which is kind of nice to see a movie show a little restraint.

But, the humor comes from the characters and there’s nothing like a chase scene, over-done pratfalls or anything else of the cliched movie tropes we see so often. The movie even ends on a note that is far more believable than where most of these sorts of movies would leave us.

The performances, from Reilly and Hill, to the bit parts played by Katherine Keener (as John’s ex-wife) and Matt Walsh (as John’s ex-wife’s new husband); are all fantastic. Reilly, who is really believable in just about any role he plays because with but just a twitch in his brow, he can be hilarious, intimidating or seem mentally handicapped. And he has the career to show that, from parts in MAGNOLIA to TALLADAGA NIGHTS.

Marisa Tomei, not only seems to be getting more beautiful as the years go on, but better at choosing her roles. There was a joke about whether she would wind up being nude in this movie – as she’s kind of gone that way in a number of her latest movies – but happily she’s just as striking as the fully-clothed, slightly damaged Molly. She’s believable as Cyrus’ mother; and as a woman that could possibly go for a guy like John. Her character is a little under-used, just in that the main crux of the movie is the conflict between Cyrus and John, but she’s still a presence and never comes off as just a “generic woman”.

Jonah Hill, of course, has made a career of being the awkward kid (despite now being in his late-twenties) from movies such as SUPERBAD and even FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL – I still haven’t seen GET HIM TO THE GREEK. But, here, he actually is a little more reserved than in those other roles. He still manages to have one of the best lines in the movie, but he never goes over the top.

Overall, this is probably one of my favorite movies of the year so far. And along with SPLICE from a week or so ago; is a good showing of indie-minded movies getting the mainstream treatment. I’d say we should all support this; and who knows you may even get to see something you don’t see every day. A great movie.


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