Cyrus Again

I wrote from Sundance on 1.26 that “if you remove the first 20 or so minutes, Jay and Mark Duplass‘s Cyrus could be called a mature, somewhat comedic and satisfying handling of an unusual romantic triangle situation. 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 any of the other big-studio whores who are always directing expensive Eloi comedies, Cyrus would have been a Joe Popcorn torture-chamber movie like Stepbrothers, in which Reilly costarred with Will Ferrell.

“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 crowd — about 20 or so minutes into the running time.”

  • drbob

    Jeff, I didnt’t think you liked fantasy films. Who’s ever gonna believe that Marisa Tomei spawned the likes of Jonah Hill. The Tooth Fairy is more believeable than this movie.

  • I still don’t understand the mention of Adam McKay. Sure you didn’t mean Shankman?

  • Ray

    The trailer totally reveals the same tone shift that you mentioned in your review, Jeff. Good call, I think.

    I love Catherine Keener. She just oozes warmth whenever she’s onscreen.

  • CitizenKanedforChewingGum

    Not to drag this thread into a LexG-ian gutter — I’m going to do it anyway — but Marisa Tomei looks absolutely goddess-like at 45 years old. She could seriously pass for early thirties. I don’t even think it’s plastic surgery or anything(?).

    Keener is also a pretty good-looking woman — and a great actress, of course — but it’s pretty hard to reconcile the fact that she’s only 5 years older than Tomei.

  • Jeffrey Wells

    McKay, Shankman…whatever.

  • jesse

    Josh, Jeff definitely means McKay, just sure as he completely, perhaps willfully misunderstands the darker and stranger aspects of the wonderful Step Brothers as some kind of vulgar big-studio pandering and not a particular product of McKay and Ferrell’s warped and spot-on comedic instincts. Because, sure, that’s what all studio heads are craving: a semi-improvised and sometimes disturbing comedy intentionally unsure whether there’s a cute lesson in all of this.

    Jeff doesn’t really like broad comedy, especially broad comedy where the characters aren’t guys he would want to “hang” with for the running time. So it’s easier to watch Step Brothers and within the first five minutes say, ugh, I get it, these guys are horrible, just another Joe Popcorn paycheck for Ferrell. But anyone paying any kind of attention who cares about comedy at all should be able to see what a strange and specific vision McKay and Ferrell have for this kind of material.

  • Jeffrey Wells

    If Jonah Hill doesn’t grim up and do something about his weight, he’ll be a candidate for a John Candy heart attack by the time he’s in his 40s. He can still be “the fat guy” (obviously his comfort zone) but since Superbad he’s gone from chubby-tubby to morbidly obese. It’s the high living party-party lifestyle. And no, it’s true, agreed — he doesn’t look like he could be Maria Tomei‘s son. In any universe, under any circumstance. Massive disconnect on this front.

  • The Winchester

    Adam Shankman will never make a movie as good as Anchorman.

    (Plus, McKay was one of the brilliant minds behind East Bound and Down, he should get a pass )

  • Rothchild

    McKay’s a genius. The comedy movie gods just don’t return Wells calls.

  • googs

    Adam McKay is great. Don’t throw his name in with Levy.

  • Gordon27

    “He can still be “the fat guy” (obviously his comfort zone) but since Superbad he’s gone from chubby-tubby to morbidly obese.”

    Usually, I don’t go with Wells on the fat guy stuff, but I noticed this in ‘Invention of Lying’.

  • Freddy Jicker

    Haha this looks like a hell of a good comedy. Definetely it is something more from an real life which is giving the credibility to this movie. Really I would like to view this in cinema I think it is worth the money.


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  • I don’t really care for either of them but stepbrothers had me pissing in my pants!

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