9 July 2010 | jdesando
"It's great to have a new dad." Cyrus to John
If your girlfriend has a grown son living at home, see Cyrus; if you have one living with you, see it. For the rest of us, see Cyrus to enjoy American ensemble acting at its best: Molly (Marisa Tomei) and her 21-year old son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill), live in a very close relationship short of Oedipal but too close for either's growth.
The Duplass brothers, known for their quirky, loose film-making that includes restless shots and "mumblecore" style (the actors mostly improvise), have allowed these accomplished actors to express themselves in a realistic and charming way. While the plot seems episodic and unfocused, it is really a character-driven story with Molly the least developed of the characters.
The story's protagonist is John (John C. Reilly), a hang dog editor whose ex-wife is getting married and to whom Molly comes with the promise of a new life. Except for Cyrus, whose unusual attachment to his mom causes him to wage domestic war against John. While nothing unpredictable happens, and that is a flaw, the acting is first rate and the situations so believable (except for the oedipal hint) that this American comedy can be enjoyed for its European-style close-ups and lengthy scenes. The clichéd ending is to be endured with regret.
If you are still hooked on your ex-wife and have a girlfriend with a kid, see this film. If you're not, then enjoy the realism of story and acting. Although the Duplasses tend to move the lens abruptly from medium to tight, thereby emphasizing the personal nature of the film, rarely does American cinema get it right without CGI and rapid cutting. This is the right stuff.