Friday, July 2, 2010

Movie Review: A Sundance Hit Opens Wider


The most talked about indie film at the moment was a big hit at Sundance and other recent film festivals. But is Cyrus worth the hype? Not really -- I think it's good, not great. Written and directed by brothers Jay and Mark Duplass (Baghead), this dark comedy is stronger than its material thanks to terrific acting by the cast.

John C. Reilly (Step Brothers, Boogie Nights) stars as John -- he's in a real rut as his ex is re-marrying while he hasn't seemed to find a way to move on. He meets Molly (Marisa Tomei from The Wrestler) at a party and instantly they fall for each other. The only problem is Cyrus (Jonah Hill) -- a 21-year-old man-child, mama's boy who will do anything in his power to keep his mother Molly and John from moving forward. It's in the demented scenes between Reilly and Hill that the film excels. Hill (Get Him to the Greek) is a revelation as the disturbed young man, and O'Reilly continues to prove that he can handle a mix of comedy and drama to near-perfection.

The problem is, despite the great acting and some funny moments, it was hard for me to embrace the characters because they were both somewhat unbelievable and unlikable to me. Am I really supposed to believe that John's ex-wife Jamie (Catherine Keener) would put up with his moroseness for the seven years since their divorce? Do people as beautiful as Molly really fall for ogres like John? So since I really didn't care about any of the characters, I wasn't totally vested in how things would end up.

In sum, don't believe all the hype -- Cyrus won't be the greatest indie film you'll see this year -- but don't totally dismiss the movie either. The great acting alone makes the film so much more enjoyable than most of the huge-budget crap the big studios are churning out this summer. [Rated R; in select cities]

Grade: B

  • Cyrus continues to roll out this month. Click here to learn when the film will be in your market.
  • The good news about a slow roll-out? Free advance screenings are still available for some major cities. Click here for passes in select cities.
  • Click on the Film Reviews icon at left to read other recent reviews -- including Grown Ups and Toy Story 3.

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