Mumblecore comes to the mainstream in a romantic
dramady that manages to transcend its genre by retaining heart.
Cyrus is a film
that does not deliver the kind of premise the marketing has promised. This is
not some Jennifer Anniston style
rom-com with slapstick extravagance, broad emotions and wafer thin concepts.
Instead Cyrus is a film that seems to have gestated from the school of Mumblecore, the low budget films
normally revolving around people talking about their problems, and centered on
the Indy musings of a Steven Soderbergh
romantic irony. In this sense it is
infinitely more engaging and rewarding than the slew of romantic comedies that
Hollywood is currently churning out.
When John (Reilly) meets Molly (Tomei) he cannot believe that such a
woman would fall for him. That is however until he meets her 22-year-old son
Cyrus (Hill) who is reluctant to
share his mother with another man and sets about sabotaging the relationship.
Jay and Mark Duplass keep the tone
deliberately grounded throughout ensuring that the film never slips into
anything other than heartfelt. When the
comedy presents itself it is done subtly and in keeping with the overall feel
of the film hence allowing the pathos to always work rather than be shoe-horned
into the final third. On some levels the concept is ‘Meet The Kid’ rather
than the Parents but it aims to reward on a higher level than Ben Stiller Vs Robert De Niro
Just when you
fear it might sink into the cringe worthy comedy of Parents it pulls it back to
a more realistic, and therefore enjoyable, romp . Moments of discomfort are
fleeting and instead often result in a character showing his true colours
rather than making a fool of himself. A party early on sees John, drunk, get up
and sing to his favorite song. At first all around look on in disgust at him
before realising the fun to be had and joining in. It is a refreshing look at a
device that has become all too clichéd.
Rounded off by
brilliant performances from Hill, Tomei and Reilly in particular, Cryus is a
film that takes a genre and makes it its own. It will disappoint those looking for roaring laughter but will delight
those who want to snigger at the dark comedy and connect to interesting
characters. Damn that pesky kid.