So let's get this out of the way right now: Marissa Tomei is beautiful. I might even venture breath taking. I have no idea why she doesn't age, but as soon as she shows up on screen I find that I don;t really care. Now that we have that out of the way- on with the review.
It would seem that Cyrus, not unlike the recently reviewed Splice, is a movie of two faces: the movie they pitch in the trailer, and the movie you see in the theater. The trailer would have you believe that this a comedy of Rushmore-esque styling, where an older and younger man compete for the affection of a woman with utterly hilarious results. The actual film is something much more emotional and touching. I say this in spite of the movies opening- which not only didn't fit the themes and style of the rest of the movie, but seems almost like it was purposefully tacked on to justify the lies the trailers were telling. Luckily it pulls up quickly. And from there pleasantly surprised over and over again.
Brothers as writing and directing teams is definitely a hit or miss dynamic. With the Duplass borthers (Jay and Mark) it's a hit. The script portrays more or less genuine characters- only pushing on the outskirts to get you to see what they are trying to say. As for the headline relationship the two use brilliant editing choices and oddly intoxicating pseudo-voice overs to massage the audience into complete and total belief of the romance unfolding on screen. Within minutes I was more enthralled with this simple couple than a hundred glittery vampire love stories. Get them invested in the relationship so they are, by extension, invested in what happens to it; sounds so simple, but it is so rarely accomplished- especially this well.
The previously swooned over Tomei turns in yet another performance full of emotion and vulnerability. Where a lesser actress would play stupid she plays cozened; where a lesser actress would play weepy she plays sullen. Her performance goes hand in hand with that of John "The C. stands for cosmopolitan" Reilly. Say what you want about the man, but he rarely plays the same character twice, and even when the movie is lack luster he gives off a an air of full devotion. Only occasionally does he resort to the abrasiveness that he's come to be known for and even then it fits.
the true stand out here is Jonah Hill, who seems to be out to show the world he is more than a jester. First he gave us a truly enjoyable performance as the straight man in Get Him to the Greek, and with Cyrus he delves into a more emotional place. What he delivers is a well done but in the end timid performance. He shows that he could indeed deliver on an emotionally charged role, but I use the word "could" because he's not given much of a chance to really engage. I saw enough to know I'm curious for more though, and that has to count for something.
Walking out of the theater I over heard a couple complaining that the movie wasn't nearly as funny as Step-brothers. I felt a little pity for them, seeing as they'd obviously missed the point. They were right, however, Cyrus is is not a comedy. It is funny in the way that life can be funny- but is more interested in being heartfelt and genuine. In this it is a complete success. Fans of Talladega Nights will surely be disappointed, but there's a an incredibly enjoyable movie waiting for anyone willing to ignore the trailers.
Reel Deal Recommends:
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead: Tomei and an all-star cast.
Boogie Knights: Reilly in a much better movie than it gets credit for.
Superbad: Jonah Hill's break out role.