Movie review: "Cyrus"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

In a summer still in need of a true breakout comedy, I was hoping that "Cyrus" would be it. It's not. Turns out, it might be something better.

It's a bit too indie for mass appeal - and the comedy is driven by discomfort, not gags - but it's smart, warm and steadily funny.

John (John C. Reilly) is a middle-aged schlub who still hasn't quite gotten over his split from his ex-wife (Catherine Keener).

A boozy night at a party leads to an encounter with Molly (Marisa Tomei). She's sweet, funny and beautiful, and John seems grateful and bewildered that she's actually into him. Then he meets Cyrus (Jonah Hill), Molly's 21-year-old son, who's clingy and territorial and a Freudian dream come true.

"Cyrus" was written and directed by brothers Jay and Mark Duplass, who were responsible for the great little indie comedy "The Puffy Chair" in 2005.

Their roots show here, as "Cyrus" doesn't go out of its way to be mainstream, with documentary-style camerawork and a willingness to let the awkward moments linger.

The cast is ideal for the material. Reilly carries both the love story and comedy aspects, Hill gets a lot of mileage from creepy looks and Tomei continues her "Wrestler" resurgence.

It's not the laugh-a-minute riot I was hoping for - I had to settle for something more poignant than expected. Well worthwhile.


Opens Friday

Three and a half stars