Sundance Buzz: Cyrus

The Duplass Brothers, Jay and Mark, shift out of the mumblecore movement and into studio-backed filmmaking with a pretty decent cast and a story of comedy potential. John C Reilly plays a guy just out of a break-up who hooks up with Marisa Tomei and then has to deal with her son, played by Jonah Hill, who remains living at home and enjoys something of an odd relationship with his mum.

Katey Rich, who is doing some great work in covering the festival for Cinema Blend, loved the film nearly unreservedly:

The Duplasses play brilliantly with the sense of comfort that comes in a romantic comedy, that secret assurance that we know how things will play out. Because the movie bears that mumblecore label of realism, there’s an actual suspense to this film’s particular will-they-or-won’t-they. By not changing the romantic comedy formula and instead bringing their own style to it, they create something wholly original, a skewed mirror on Hollywood that lovingly turns the old tropes around.

She adds that the film is “stellar and hilarious and by far one of the best things to come out of the festival so far“.

And Rich is far from alone in her praise for the film. HitFix’s Drew McWeeny was equally enchanted by the Duplass’ step up to the big(ger) leagues:

Shot with a simple, austere eye and elegantly constructed, Cyrus was a complete knockout, and Fox Searchlight will figure out how to sell this to the general public in a very big way. What’s great is that Mark and Jay Duplass seem to have proven that they can work for the studios in a way that makes them happy, that allows them to make their movies, and that will reward the faith of the studios with genuinely great commercial fare.

Add to those voices Scott at We Are Movie Geeks, who claims: “There isn’t much you can say that is negative about the film… its pretty much perfect.

The one major dissenter is Duane Byrge over at the Hollywood Reporter, who isn’t quite wholly scathing, but certainly didn’t find the same level of enjoyment.

A romance laced with psychological poison, “Cyrus” is a well-performed but superficial drama of emotional co-dependency that is unlikely to venture past the select-site/festival circuit.

Overall, “Cyrus” is more a clinical enactment than a complex human drama and ultimately just droops in predictability and easy outcomes.

So a potential breakthrough for the Duplass brothers, though it does sound as though it could struggle to find a major audience if they are so carefully integrating their mumblecore sensibilities with mainstream style.

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