Four struggling actors retreat to a cabin in Big Bear, California in order to write a screenplay that will make them all stars. Problem is: What happens when their story idea -- a horror flick about a group of friends tormented by a villain with a bag over his head -- starts to come true?
Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his widowed mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his unhappily married brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife.
When seasoned comedian George Simmons learns of his terminal, inoperable health condition, his desire to form a genuine friendship cause him to take a relatively green performer under his wing as his opening act.
Tim Lippe has no idea what he's in for when he's sent to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent his company at an annual insurance convention, where he soon finds himself under the "guidance" of three convention veterans.
With John's social life at a standstill and his ex-wife about to get remarried, a down on his luck divorcé finally meets the woman of his dreams, only to discover she has another man in her life - her son. Still single seven years after the breakup of his marriage, John has all but given up on romance. But at the urging of his ex-wife and best friend Jamie, John grudgingly agrees to join her and her fiancé Tim at a party. To his and everyone else's surprise, he actually manages to meet someone: the gorgeous and spirited Molly. Their chemistry is immediate. The relationship takes off quickly but Molly is oddly reluctant to take the relationship beyond John's house. Perplexed, he follows her home and discovers the other man in Molly's life: her son, Cyrus. A 21-year-old new age musician, Cyrus is his mom's best friend and shares an unconventional relationship with her. Cyrus will go to any lengths to protect Molly and is definitely not ready to share her with anyone, especially John. ... Written by
I Hope the Film's Marketing Doesn't Make People Hate It
The marketing for this movie is terribly misleading. It sells it as a zany comedy, which could not be farther from the truth. I'm not criticizing the film -- I thought it was quite good. But people are going to see this expecting something very different from what they get, and they're going to hold it unfairly against the film.
"Cyrus" is being billed as the first mainstream effort by mumblecore darling filmmakers Jay and Mark Duplass ("Baghead"). But "Cyrus" is only mainstream in that it's released by a major studio (Fox Searchlight) and has recognizable actors in it (John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill, Catherine Keener). In subject and style, it imports many of the characteristics of traditional mumblecore -- offbeat humor, improvised feel, bare bones production values -- wholesale.
Which again is not a criticism. I've been impressed with some of the mumblecore entries I've seen recently, like the aforementioned "Baghead" and "Humpday." "Cyrus" is a complex exploration of an odd and at times uncomfortable set up, and that it doesn't take a glib or condescending attitude toward its characters or devolve into potty jokes and slapstick couldn't make it less mainstream.
Reilly plays a lonely man looking for love and finding it in Marisa Tomei. Unfortunately, with her he also finds Cyrus, her twenty-something and morbidly dependent son. He tries to be a buddy at first, until it's clear that Cyrus isn't all that he appears and doesn't want a new guy around. The two men declare war on one another until fists fly, both figuratively and literally.
"Cyrus" is a small miracle of tone. It keeps its audience constantly guessing as to which direction it's going to go. The weird mother/son relationship depicted is at first just funny, then funny in a kind of squirmy way, then flat out disturbing. But the film knows exactly when it's about to push credibility too far, and just before it does, it lets us in on more information that makes everything plausible. One of the things I responded to most is the respect with which the actors and writers treat these characters. These people are not put on display for us to mock, or feel superior to, or pity. These are people who are trying their best to navigate tricky emotional terrain in the best way they know how, and the actors playing them all give lovely performances.
A smart, witty and thoughtful film in a season of cinematic junk food.
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