When I first heard of Cyrus, now available on Blu-ray, I had a certain set of expectations. First of all, the movie stars John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill, so I knew it would be funny. The thing I did not know is what kind of funny it would be. What I expected was a bunch of silly antics with two gifted comic actors, however what I actually saw was something more.
John (Reilly) appears to be in a funk. He has been divorced for seven years, and although he and his ex-wife Jamie (Katherine Keener) appear to be close friends, he still can’t deal with being alone. Jamie forces John to go to a party with her and her new fiancee, and insists that he try to meet some new people. After a few disastrous attempts, John runs into Molly (Marisa Tomei) and the two instantly hit it off. John believes he has finally met his match, but Molly seems to have a secret. John follows her home and meets her twenty-something son Cyrus (Jonah Hill). Everything seems fine at first, however John soon learns that Cyrus is deeply attached to is mom, and will do whatever it takes to make John go away.
I really thought the movie was going to be one elaborate set piece after another, which is why I was totally taken off guard by just the opposite. Don’t get me wrong. The movie was funny, but in a more mature sort of way. The characters don’t play with each others brakes, dye their hair funny colors or anything like that. They instead use their words and brains, and actually talk things through. This adds more depth to the movie, and gives it a more worldly feel.
All the actors involved do a fine job, and especially in the case of Hill, taking what could have been clichés and making them feel like real people. It is also amazing that a lot of the movie was improvised by the actors, which makes me appreciate their performances even more.
Cyrus was shot in a more realistic, docu-drama style, and while picture would not be the first thing one would probably think about with a movie like this, the look is certainly noticeable in a very good way. The movie combines natural looking light and shadows, which add to the realistic feeling given off by the whole movie, and come out looking crisp and clear.
Dialogue is very important in a movie such as Cyrus, and is the driving force of the entire story and humor. With that said, it is important that the audience hear every word. Luckily the sound, which was recorded in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, captures every word perfectly, and I think I only had to rewind one time in order to catch a phrase I missed.
The extras are nothing out of the ordinary, but do add some intriguing glances into the making of the film and include:
A Q&A with directors Jay & Mark Duplass (8:16), which gives insight into the improvisational nature of the film.
Two deleted scenes that can be seen with or without an introduction from the directors.
A hilarious music mash-up with Jonah Hill and John C. Reilly (3:39), which blends music from the film with dialogue.
A behind the scenes look at SXSW festival with Jay and Mark Duplass (3:18). Filmed in Austin, Texas, the extra briefly shows how the directors handled their screening, but I really wish they had shown more than what was there.
Two Fox Movie Channel Interviews, one with Jonah Hill and the other with John C. Reilly.
Those expecting a laugh out loud, gross out comedy would be in for a surprise, but oh, what a pleasant surprise it is. Cyrus is a mature comedy in which words are the weapons, and real feelings are taken into consideration. It also marks a change of pace for Jonah Hill, who I hope takes on more roles like this.