I would very much qualify Cyrus as a mumblecorp film....except it is the first STUDIO PICTURE by this crew. It was financed by Scott Free Productions, being the Brothers Scott....Ridley and Tony. Fox Searchlight distributed. I read an interview with Mark Duplass where he was asked if working for the studios changed anything for him. He said resoundingly YES! The best part about it....more money! The worst part about it...you can't just pick up your camera and shoot...it all becomes much more complex. There are call sheets and unions and scheduling. The bigger the budget, usually, the bigger the problems. Duplass raved on how easy the transition was, and while having craft services make the lunches and catering the breaks was nice; I think they missed having the parents of the crew cook family dinners for everyone.
A bigger budget does have an upside in that you no longer need to fill roles with friends and family and you actually get a shot at a "big-budget" cast. The earlier films are great, though, and the casts of unknowns in the other films gives them a texture that big budget features are often lacking. Fortunately, Cyrus fills the characters out with perfect choices for each part.
CYRUS tells the tale of John, played by John C. Reilly, as a divorcee, who finds out that his ex-wife Jaime (Catherine Keener) is about to get married to Tim (Matt Walsh). Jaime and John are still friends and when Jaime catches John in a very awkward moment, she drops the bomb on him that she is getting remarried. Jaime decides that she is going to get him motivated to go out and meet a gal.
Smash-cut to a hipster party, where John sticks out like the un-hip thumb that he is. In a great turn, he meets Marisa Tomei's Molly, who when she flirts with John, he drops the killer line: "But I'm like Shrek....what are you doing in the forest?" It was funny and actually spoiled by the trailer, so I don't feel bad sharing it here.
John and Molly make quick friends and then quick lovers. John is troubled because in the few, brief overnighters they have shared at John's house, Molly slips out after John falls asleep. She denies that there is anything weird going on and in a great move, John stalk-follows her home when she leaves. He falls asleep in his car outside of her house. When he wakes up, he goes up to the front of the house, where he has his first encounter with the titular character, Cyrus, played by Jonah Hill.
Let the games begin! Or so most would think...I am sure that most people who see this mainstream, semi-wide release will expect something far different than what this movie delivers on. There is not a till the death battle with something terrible lurking at every turn like you would get trying to bring the Montagues and Capulets together. This is a subtle film that does have its fair share of mental warfare, but at a much more realistic level.
Everything that happens in this film is 100% believable, except the haters out there who deny the possibility that a Marissa Tomei would ever fall for a John C. Reilly....hey folks, The Reel Rhino is a Shrek, as well, and I got me a Fiona! I hate that people fixate on whether or not people would actually ever date based on appearance. We heard the same garbage for Sidney Lumet's Until The Devil Knows You're Dead when Tomei was married to Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character. Where were the complaints when Tomei was falling for a very haggard and beaten Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler? I guess because she played a stripper there, it was alright? Enough about that, but people should be more open minded to the strong arm of the love bug, even when we know it is a work of fiction.
I love the mumblecorp method of showing you a slice of real life and I think it is 100% effective here. Yes, the slice of life you see is filled with slightly eccentric characters, but it plays like real life nonetheless.
Reel Rhino gives this 4.5 out of 5 horns. Cyrus is a great movie to watch because it is different from most movies out there today. This was released limited-wide in 454 theaters, most likely because of the art house feel, but it's gross to date is well over $6 million and I think as word of mouth spreads, the box office for this will grow.
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