Cyrus, written and directed by brothers Jay and Mark Duplass, is one of this summer’s unexpected movie pleasures in which terrific acting abounds.

Movies don’t normally classify themselves as dramadies as television shows do, but that’s exactly what Cyrus is. Part comedy and sometimes very dark comedy, Cyrus also has a lot of psychological thriller and just plain drama to contemplate.

Cyrus is the story of two men struggling with female abandonment issues. The first–single, self-identified Shrek-like schlub, John, is played to perfection by John C. Reilly. Abnormally close to his ex-wife, Jamie (Catherine Keener) and still morose over their divorce, he is thrown into a deeper depression when she tells him of her impending wedding. It’s Jamie who encourages him to go to the party that will ultimately change his life. While extremely funny, the party scenes hit uncomfortably right on the mark for any shy person struggling to be social. At the party, he meets “cute” the quirky stunner Molly (Marisa Tomei). In what initially seems too good to be true, the two hit it off. But there is an impediment to a happily ever after and that’s in the form of Molly’s surprise 21 year-old son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill), who still lives with her. Cyrus obviously suffers from fear of female abandonment issues in this eyebrow-raising, unusually close relationship. Is it “Flower’s in the Attic?” Is there room for John in this two-some? Does Molly even want out?

Jonah Hill is a revelation as Cyrus. Breaking free from his usual frat, fat boy roles, he shines in a complicated role. Is he a villain…unbalanced…or just plain sad? Marisa Tomei just seems to be getting better and better with every recent performance. She’s wonderful in her role as the fragile, spunky lover and suffocating/suffocated mom. Catherine Keener, in a supporting role, is spot-on as the movie’s voice of reason.

Cyrus is a rare summer find that will entertain from beginning to end while have you thinking at the same time. It may not be what you expect, but you’ll enjoy be glad you saw it.

3 ½ nuggets out of 4


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