Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei, Catherine Keener, Matt Walsh
Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass
John met the woman of his dreams. Then he met her son ...
John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill and Oscar® Winner Marisa Tomei star in this quirky, hilarious story about love, family and cutting the cord. Not-so-recently divorced John (Reilly) thinks he’s finally found the perfect woman when he meets the sweet and sexy Molly (Tomei). There’s just one problem – Molly’s son Cyrus (Hill) clings to his mom like lint on a T-shirt, and he’s not about to let another man come between them. It’s one hysterically awkward moment after another as John and Cyrus fight for the right to be Molly’s #1 man.
$181.716 thousand on 4 screens.
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Video 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 91 min.
Release Date: 12/14/2010
• Two Deleted Scenes with Optional Introductions
• Q&A with Directors/Writers Jay and Mark Duplass
• Music Mash Up
• Behind the Scenes at SXSW with Jay and Mark Duplass
• “Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with John C. Reilly”
• “Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Jonah Hill”
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Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.
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Cyrus [Blu-Ray] (2010)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 24, 2010)
In the same quirky vein as 2008’s Step Brothers, 2010’s Cyrus looks at adults who can’t cut the cord. John (John C. Reilly) never moved on after his breakup with Jamie (Catherine Keener), and he remains emotionally hung up on her.
Nonetheless, John’s still friends with Jamie, and he grudgingly goes along when she orders him to attend a party. Jamie hopes John might actually meet someone interesting there, and miracle of miracle, the socially inept John finds a love connection with single mother Molly (Marisa Tomei). They hit it off immediately and start a good romance.
One with a snag, however. Every time Molly sleeps over, she needs to leave at odd hours. Suspicious, John follows her and discovers her secret: her 21-year-old son Cyrus (Jonah Hill) lives with her.
No big deal, right? Yes big deal, as Cyrus remains abnormally close to his mother. At the start, Cyrus acts happy to have a new man in his mom’s life, but it soon becomes clear that he possesses the opposite emotion. This leads to a battle between John and Cyrus for Molly’s attention.
I find it interesting that Reilly appears in both this film and Step Brothers, especially since the former places him in the role as the “adult”. Granted, John sometimes doesn’t seem like much of an adult, especially at the start, when we see his awful social skills. However, it “grows him up” pretty quickly, so don’t expect the immature buffoon of Step Brothers here.
I’m reluctant to constantly compare Cyrus to Step Brothers, as the movies aim for different goals. The latter was a wild, wacky comedy, while the former prefers to go down a more realistic psychological path. Some comparisons became inevitable due to the casting choices and the similar themes, but I certainly didn’t expect Cyrus to be a clone of Step Brothers.
I would have liked it if it’d been half as entertaining, though. Maybe if Cyrus had shot for a broader tone and simply cast itself as a darker version of Step Brothers, it might’ve succeeded. However, it never quite decides what it wants to be. It nods in the direction of the earlier film’s weirdness but it can’t figure out if it wants to follow the comedic or dramatic paths.
Not that every movie must select one or the other, but Cyrus ends up in some sort of limbo. It’s a film that just can’t commit. For instance, it hints at an incestuous relationship between Cyrus and Molly, but it doesn’t pursue that thread. Hey, maybe there’s nothing to pursue, but the film sets up that concept and then ignores it.
Cyrus also offers a character piece without even vaguely intriguing characters. I suspect that any personality elements found on screen came from the actors, as it appears the writers didn’t do much to flesh out the roles. We learn some basics about the three protagonists but nothing more, and they never do anything to make us care about them. Will Cyrus keep the status quo with Molly, or will John become the man of the house? The film tells us the answer, but by the time it gets there, we don’t really care. The path it follows to that moment is so slow and tedious that we’ve lost interest by the time the credits roll.
Which is a genuine shame. As I alluded earlier, the movie has real potential. It could’ve offered a more realistic twist on the Step Brothers model, or it could’ve been more of a black comedy. Cyrus instead clothes itself in character drama clothing but fails to deliver heart, soul or depth.
That leaves us with little more than some half-drawn characters and a lot of bad camera work. Enamored with its little indie origins, Cyrus features lots and lots of “documentary style” handheld photography. Why? I have no idea. Lazy directors? A cheap attempt at verisimilitude? All of the above? You tell me.
All I know is that the technique gets old very quickly. I gripe about the over-reliance on handheld photography quite a lot, and although I hate to repeat myself, I can’t simply ignore its presence or pretend I think it works. Most of the time it doesn’t, and this is one of the instances for which it flops. The constant sight of quick zooms and poor focus simply distract me; they add nothing and subtract a lot.
Though I can’t claim they ruin the movie, as I suspect Cyrus would’ve been a snoozer no matter what. The film suffers from too little character depth to sustain it. Even across a short 91-minute running time, the situations lose steam and leave us disenchanted with the movie’s inherent emptiness.
The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio C/ Bonus D+
Cyrus appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. I felt pleased with this positive presentation.
Sharpness excelled. Except for some blurry shots caused by “on the fly” focus, the film displayed an accurate, precise image. No instances of jaggies or shimmering appeared, and I witnessed no edge haloes either. Shot digitally, the movie was clean and without source flaws.
Colors seemed good. The movie used a slightly restrained but generally natural palette, and the tones came across with good depth and clarity. Blacks were pretty dark and tight, but shadows could be a little inky; the low-light shots were acceptable but not especially smooth. Still, the majority of the flick looked great, so this ended up as a “B+” transfer.
Don’t expect much from the subdued DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Cyrus. This was a 5.1 mix in name but not execution, as I failed to notice any material from the surrounds at any point during the film. If any information popped up from the back speakers, those elements remained exceedingly minor; for all intents and purposes, this came across like a 3.1 track.
Or even a 3.0 mix, as I didn’t hear subwoofer usage, either. Heck, even the front side channels didn’t have much to do. Music became the primary element from the front right and left speakers; a few minor environmental effects popped up in those channels, but much of the flick essentially came across as monaural. This was about as restrained a soundscape as I could imagine without actually going back to mono.
Audio quality was fine, though the absence of noticeable subwoofer usage meant bass could be a little thin. Still, the music showed acceptable range and consistently sounded concise. A few lines were a bit mushy, but most dialogue appeared reasonably natural, and effects were adequate. They never remotely taxed my system, but they didn’t cause any problems, either. Across the board, this was a totally ordinary track.
When we head to the extras, we get a mix of components. We find a Q&A with Directors/Writers Jay and Mark Duplass. It fills eight minutes, 16 seconds with info about the film’s budget and its impact on their filmmaking style, what it’s like to work together, performances and improvisation. They throw out a few decent thoughts, but the format proves to be exceedingly annoying. The brothers bring along their young daughters, and the tots screech and goof around through the whole piece. This means we get more of their shenanigans than anything else. I guess someone thought this would be quirky and charming; instead, it’s just irritating.
Something unusual pops up with Music Mash Up. During the three-minute, 39-second piece, actors John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill play some synthesizer music mixed with quotes from the movie. It’s not quite as obnoxious as that sounds, but it’s close.
We get more from the directors via Behind the Scenes at SXSW with Jay and Mark Duplass. The clip fills three minutes, 18 seconds and shows them as they go to the movie’s Austin premiere. Mostly this means we see schmoozing and little else. Yawn.
Two promotional shows follow. We find Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with John C. Reilly (4:39) and Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character with Jonah Hill (3:15). Both tell us a little about their roles and shooting the movie. Neither one offers much of depth, but the clips go by quickly enough to be painless.
Two Deleted Scenes come next. We can view these with or without optional introductions from the Duplass brothers. We find “Puppet Movie” (3:33 with intro, 2:05 without) and “Cyrus Party” (7:23, 6:01). “Puppet” is cutesy and cloying even for this flick; it shows John’s videotaped attempt to make up with Molly, and it’s awful. “Party” demonstrates Cyrus’s inability to survive on his own; it also echoes John’s earlier experience at a party, though with a less positive result. It’s more interesting than “Puppet”, but it would’ve been redundant, as we already know about all of Cyrus’s flaws.
A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Conviction and Knight and Day. We also find a trailer for Cyrus and a Sneak Peek for Never Let Me Go.
Despite a talented cast, Cyrus ends up as a drag. The movie lacks personality or depth, so it simply comes across like a missed opportunity. The Blu-ray delivers very good visuals, ordinary audio and minor supplements. I can’t find much to like about this forgettable character piece.
Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars
| Number of Votes: 2