"It's great to finally have a new dad."
I have now seen what fear looks like.
Undoubtedly, the scariest scene in film this year is one of an obese young-adult, wearing nothing but a t-shirt, and holding a butcher knife. The man, is the titular Cyrus, played by Jonah Hill. Cyrus is a twenty-two year old introvert; a home-schooled, aspiring deejay who lives with his single mother Molly (Marisa Tomei). But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
At a party, Molly meets John (John C. Reilly), a divorced editor, while he relieves himself in the bushes. John is a sad, pained man. He wears stained sweatshirts and masturbates to pornography in his dirtied, lonely apartment whilst wearing headphones. He still has feelings of loss and regret, stemming from his breakup with Jamie (Catherine Keener), his wife of seven years. John and Jamie are still friends however, and it is at her behest that he accompanies her and her newly instated fiancé Tim (Matt Walsh) to the aforementioned soirée.
Anyone with eyes can see that Molly is out of John's league--especially John. "Are you flirting with me?" he asks her. "I'm like Shrek. What are you doing here in the forest with Shrek?" As it turns out, Molly is just as lost, just as isolated and through a shared love of Human League's "Don't You Want Me," a bond is formed.
After multiple rendezvous, and subsequent late night escapes, John secretly follows Molly back to her home and comes across whom she is hiding. And now we come back to Cyrus. Although, initially warm and welcoming, inside are feelings of jealousy and hostility. The film becomes a battle to win Molly's affection. While John's intentions are earnest and true, they are contrasted by Cyrus', whose feelings toward his mother teeter, but never quite cross the line into uncomfortable territory.
Cyrus does all he can to sabotage Molly's first serious relationship since he was born. While it starts with juvenile acts such as stealing John's shoes, it slowly escalates into a full-blown fracas at the wedding of Molly and Tim. I feel I've led you astray. While doused with reality, CYRUS still burns with plenty of dark comedy particular to the films by the Duplass brothers: who wrote and directed the greatly acclaimed THE PUFFY CHAIR (2005), and the lesser so BAGHEAD (2008). Their latest is their first foray with established, well-known actors and the results shine through brightly.
Reilly is his usual lovable self. He's talented enough to be nominated for dramatic turns (CHICAGO), yet still has the ability for absurd comedies (TALLADEGA NIGHTS, STEP BROTHERS). CYRUS is somewhere in between, but leans more toward the former. Hill, who along with GET HIM TO THE GREEK, has had quite the successful year. He does his best FATAL ATTRACTION impersonation here (albeit, without quite the homicidal tendencies), and is well on his way to eventually carrying a film on his immense shoulders. Tomei of course, won the Oscar for 1992's MY COUSIN VINNY. This seems light years ago. She has grown substantially since then; in ability and in beauty.
Molly is a tormented woman. She longs for new love, but at the same time, finds it hard to loosen the connection to her son; Cyrus is all she knows. It is this relationship that rightfully fuels the story, and the one that could ultimately ruin their lives.