IFF Boston: Cyrus

24 April 2010, 6:46 am

Everyone once in a while I want to urge people to avoid previews, ads, and reviews and just go see a movie with no expectations. I feel that way about Cyrus, not because I don’t think it can stand up to repeat viewings — in fact I’m eager to see it again so I can catch the lines I missed when the crowd was roaring with laughter — but because it was a lot of fun being surprised by this movie. It’s a pleasure you’ll miss if you go in knowing too much. (And there’s one awesome sight gag that I fear commercials will spoil.)

I expected John C. Reilly to be good, and he certainly is, but the shocker for me was Jonah Hill’s performance. (You might remember him as the scene-stealing waiter from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, or from Funny People.) Reilly and Hill evolve a fabulous vocabulary of non-verbal communication with impeccable timing. Marisa Tomei is overshadowed in the straight man role, although in her defense, the script (by directors Mark and Jay Duplass) leaves her motivations unclear. And the overall shape of the story isn’t very interesting or surprising. But those flaws didn’t matter to me, because the film achieves its main objectives: it’s sometimes borderline disturbing, but mostly just hilarious.

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