I can imagine the faces the people at the marketing department did as they got Cyrus on their table. “What the h… do we make out of this?”
In one way you could say that it’s a comedy about a couple that needs to overcome a few obstacles before they can get anywhere with their budding relationship. It sounds quite ordinary, but it isn’t. Because at the same time there’s a pretty serious underlying story, about a woman and her son, with bonds between them bordering to the incestuous and a man who barely has crawled himself up from a deep depression and won’t hesitate to jump into it again if things get rough.
Which track should the marketers pick? Of course they went for what they thought would sell better, so they gave it the comedy label.
The DVD cover makes it very clear. “Seriously don’t f**k his mom” is the motto they’ve put under the title and the quoted reviews are all talking about the movie as “killer funny”. The way John C Reilly looks at me from the photo I would expect him to be punched in his sensitive parts any second, followed by a hysterical laughter. Not the kind of movie I like, but then I’m a little bit peculiar.
The marketing probably has misled a few of the viewers, and it might even have put some people off. At least that’s how I explain some of the nastier comments at IMDB.
While I agree that Cyrus indeed have some funny aspects to it, it’s equally uncomfortable and awkward, dealing with some serious issues. I suppose not everyone appreciate this discomfort or can stomach the creepy mother-son-thing that is going on.
I like it though. Actually I liked Cyrus a lot more than I would have thought, judging from the cover.
What’s so wonderful is that I think it stays away from the standard comedy concept, you know movies where every single pun is a predictable stereotype. (How I hate them! I don’t laugh at them and if you don’t laugh at jokes you’re a bore, and that’s about as low as you can sink. Poverty, depression or ugliness is nothing compared to the impression of being someone who lacks humor. You don’t want to be that person.)
There was also something about the conversations which caught my interest. They felt fresh, fluid and sort of natural. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was until I listened to Filmspotting’s interview with John C Reilly and learned that the entire movie is the result of improvisations. While they knew where the scenes were going, they let the dialogue evolve naturally. In most cases the first shooting was so good that it’s what we see in the movie. Quite impressive, I would say, and it certainly explains the freshness.
All in all – if you’re comfortable with uncomfortable humor and if you’re a fan of impro (I just realized I am!) I would recommend Cyrus to you, as a nice little snack rather than as a main course.
Cyrus (Duplass, US, 2010) My rating: 4/5