CYRUS opens this week and we'd just like to say a word or two about one of our heroes, John C. Reilly.
Reilly is one of the most underrated performers of our time, having significant roles in both BOOGIE and TALADEGA NIGHTS as well as some very inspired oddities like his role as Nikola Tesla in DRUNK HISTORY and as the uncredited Sasquatch in the TENACIOUS D movie. Most recently, he has been causing seizures of laughter in the best television show on TV right now, CHECK IT OUT! WITH DR. STEVE BRULE.
Enough gushing over Mr. Reilly, though. His new film is CYRUS, and it's costarring GET HIM TO THE GREEK's JONAH HILL. Written and directed by Austinite indie-auteurs the Duplass Brothers, CYRUS tells the story of a wounded man (Reilly) who falls in love with the perfect woman (Marissa Tomei). Everything is stomach cramps and palm sweat until he discovers her son (Jonah Hill), who seems to be either deranged or sinister. The film focuses on this step-father role within the modern family, with great comedic turns by both Hill and Reilly.
As I said, we're incredibly excited about this picture. But we're not alone. Marjorie Baumgarten of the Austin Chronicle writes, "With CYRUS, the transition of the Duplass brothers from their germinal Austin filmmaking roots into full-blown Hollywood filmmakers is complete – even though their new comedy, CYRUS, will not be mistaken for any studio-generated yukfest. However, the addition in their work of an Oscar-tier cast raises the Duplasses’ off-kilter material to a new high." The Chronicle also ran a great story this week about the film with insight from the cast and filmmakers.
Roger Ebert, like Baumgarten, sees the performances and their non-Hollywood presentation as the key to this film. "Here is a film that uses very good actors and gives them a lot of improvisational freedom to talk their way into, around and out of social discomfort. And it’s not snarky. It doesn’t mock these characters. It understand they have their difficulties and hopes they find a way to work things out. There’s your suspense: How can they?" Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times echoes this sentiment, writing, "CYRUS amuses and unnerves in equal measure. A comedy of discomfort that walks a wonderful line between reality-based emotional honesty and engaging humor, it demonstrates the good things that happen when quirky independent style combines with top-of-the-line acting skill."
Manohla Dargis, for the New York Times, singles out the accomplishment of young Jonah Hill, writing of his role, "Hill enters with a polite smile that is likely to send a chill straight up your neck, leaving your little hairs aflutter...he looks like the kind of guy who has been setting fire to the neighborhood cats...Mr. Hill taps the spirit of Norman Bates so well he quickly pushes this comedy into horror."
The nation's most positive critic, Peter Travers, whose role at Rolling Stone is to like films, offers a great compliment for this film by offering his first vitriol in years, albeit comparatively: "You'll be laughing till it hurts. In a multiplex crowded with formula rom-coms divorced from genuine feeling (that's you, Sex and the Shitty), CYRUS brims over with hilarity and heartbreak."