John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill battle for Marisa Tomei’s attention in Cyrus
Both Jonah Hill and John C. Reilly are more recently known for broader comedies like Step Brothers or Superbad, but both prove they can hold their own with quirky indie fare as they battle for the attention of Marisa Tomei in Cyrus.
Reilly stars as John, a lonely loser who can’t seem to move on after divorcing his wife seven years prior. After repeatedly striking out at a party, John meets Molly (Tomei), a free spirit who seems to really get him. As their romance continues to grow, John gets curious about Molly’s life when she keeps acting mysteriously. He decides to follow her home one day and discovers that she has a 21-year-old son named Cyrus (Hill) who lives at home with her. Cyrus welcomes him at first and even shares his passion for synth music, but as Molly and John get closer, Cyrus starts to get jealous that John is taking up all his mother’s time. Soon, Cyrus launches into a secret battle with John for Molly’s attention.
Reilly is a perfect everyman. He’s endearing and easy to identify with, which makes him a great lead in a film like this that seeks to show “real” people instead of glitzy Hollywood actors pretending to be real people.
Tomei is also impressive, playing Molly as quite an unconventional mother. Her closeness with her son is founded in love, but also weird given the fact that Cyrus is not a little kid anymore. One scene when John is waiting for Molly to get out of the shower and Cyrus walks into bathroom perfectly captures the oddness in their bond. John is weirded out by it, yet it’s not played as over-the-top uncomfortable.
Hill absolutely nails the creepiness of Cyrus. His deadpan delivery makes interactions especially awkward because you’re not quite sure if he’s serious or joking, which makes it easy to identify with John, who is trying to navigate the awkward situation well. A few scenes involve him staring at John with an expressionless face that leaves you wondering weather he’s adjusting to his mom’s new boyfriend, or plotting to murder him.
Those looking for an Apatow-style comedy that’s trademark for the two leading men might be disappointed, but anyone looking for an indie featuring talented comedic performers is in for a treat. Cyrus is in limited release, but if it’s playing in your city, definitely check it out.