Here‘s my 2010 Sundance Film Festival of Jay and Mark Duplass‘s Cyrus (Fox Searchlight, 6.18), posted on 1.26: “Most of Cyrus — the vast majority of it, I mean — is a mature, somewhat comedic and satisfying handling of an unusual romantic triangle situation — 40ish love-starved guy (John C. Reilly), 40ish mom (Marisa Tomei) and quietly psychotic fat-ass son (Jonah Hill).
John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill in Cyrus (6.18).
“It’s ‘funny’ here and there but mostly it’s just believable, buyable and emotionally even-steven. A truly welcome surprise.
“In the hands of Adam McKay or Shawn Levy or one of the other big-studio whores, Cyrus would have been a Joe Popcorn torture-chamber movie like Stepbrothers, in which Reilly costarred with Will Ferrell. But it’s something else with the Duplass brothers running the show. It’s quietly absorbing and occasionally hilarious, and made all the better by superb acting.
“But those first 20 or so minutes are very weird. For during this period Cyrus plays like it was directed by McKay or Levy. Reilly behaves so over-the-top needy and neurotic and boorish and lacking in social skills that I was ready to leave. ‘I really don’t want to hang with this asshole,’ I was saying to myself. I was just about to bolt when all of a sudden Reilly hooked up with Tomei, went home with her, fell in love and turned into a different person.
“It plays as if the Duplass brothers suddenly changed their minds about Reilly’s character and decided to go with a much calmer and more emotionally secure vibe. It’s almost as if they sat down and said ‘we need to get the animals to see this so let’s make an animal comedy straight out of the Will Ferrell loser file so the Fox Searchlight trailer guys can sell this portion, and then turn around and make Cyrus into a whole ‘nother bird — a movie aimed at a smarter, more emotionally mature crowd — about 20 or so minutes into the running time.”