Now, don’t let that last bit scare you, this film is a comedy first and foremost but there are many quiet and sweet moments of introspection that really help elevate the film to another level of being just a comedy. The story follows John, a still sort of love sick divorcé who still works closely with his ex who is also his closest friend after seven years apart, that finally meets a woman, Molly, that seems to gel with him but she has a minor hindrance; her 21 year old son who still lives at home, Cyrus. Now, this wouldn’t seem like the biggest problem but their relationship is a bit too close for most peoples comfort. Home schooled and having never gone off to college, Cyrus, is a bit of a mama’s boy and doesn’t know much of a life beyond his mother and his electric industrial synth music.
The film is being sold as this battle over Molly between suitor and son but it is much more than that. John is a kind soul and about as selfless as they come and the chances he gives Cyrus will be many as it is a slow burn to the eventual war between the two. The war though isn’t anything too outlandish or over the top though, the film is grounded in reality and while the battle brings about plenty of humor it never cheats or goes to the ridiculous for a laugh. And it is the restraint of this film that makes it fantastic along with the amazing abilities of John C Reilly and Jonah Hill’s humor.
The film does have that far too traditional third act falling out, but it allows for epiphany in the characters and doesn’t feel as forced or artificial as it can in a lot of comedies. And again, this film convention that can easily irk me works here because it is done naturally and feels honest to life and doesn’t seem arbitrary or wedged in for the sake of conflict. There are a couple other bits that I wish were done a bit differently, for example Molly feels a bit under explored on the surface but Marisa Tomei does a good job at alluding to Molly’s issues/damage through her performance. The film is also a mixed bag technically, editing wise it is fantastic at times as it overlays dialogue from a certain moment of an event while showing us the scope of the event in its entirety. But the camera does this zoom thing that pops in and out really fast for no apparent reason and it was minor but it took me out of the scene occasionally, reminding me that I am watching a movie, and maybe that was done intentionally to keep the viewer an arms length from the more honest moments, but nonetheless it did bother me a bit; a minor quibble.
The acting in the film is superb with John C Reilly stealing the show as usual; which is quite the feat seeing as Jonah Hill is usually the scene stealer in everything he does. Reilly creates a likeable, if a tad bit sad, character that longs but isn’t desperate and while you root for him to succeed you easily believe it when he fails. Jonah Hill’s eyes are incredible in this picture and he can freak you out and make you laugh all at once as he shoots that uncomfortable gaze Reilly’s way. Tomei’s character might seem a bit half baked but she does everything she can to give the character the depth it deserves and she continues to shine in her recent resurgence on the screen. Catherine Keener is also great as always as Reilly’s ex and the two form a believable post marriage friendship that might normally come across as a bit of a stretch.
In the end, Cyrus is an honest, real, and hilarious comedy that has more to say then just trying to get you to laugh. But don’t shy away if looking for a comedy as the film is full of laughs just be prepared for quiet moments throughout that will engage you that much more into the lives of these characters. Cyrus is one of the best films of the summer/year and not to be missed, seek it out you will not be disappointed.
Cyrus is an A-