Cyrus may on some level be a stunt, yet the Duplasses' slightly sluggish, low-budget, mumblecore style allows this story to flower as both light-fingered lark and drama of suspenseful dysfunction.
Despite their indie cred, the Duplasses are mainstream, hence the movie's status quo finish. "Cyrus" is more finely tuned than their earlier movies ("The Puffy Chair, Baghead), but it shares a similar, almost aggressive lack of ambition.
Above all, it deftly captures the ambiguity and absurdity of human relationships. With improvised dialogue and performances that go from uncomfortable to honest, Cyrus is an off-kilter charmer.
We all have routines, but the characters in Cyrus have complicated systems for dealing with things, and watching them smash into each other is endearing and often hilarious.
I've seldom seen a film in which three intelligent, articulate people make so many penetrating observations about themselves, and address their bizarre situation so directly, without providing, or indeed possessing, the slightest clue...
The Duplasses' sensitivity, which is genuine, yields too much tepid relationship-speak, and Marisa Tomei, one of the most appealing actresses in Hollywood, is left with little to play.
The movie doesn't eagerly jump from one payoff to another, but attunes itself to nuance, body language and the habitual politeness with which we try to overlook social embarrassment.
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.
Jonah Hill delivers a craftier comic performance than anything in his box-office hits, but what really elevates the story above its shticky premise is the combined neuroses of all three characters.
Although the film is labeled a comedy, it hovers on the dark side in so many shadows that it is rarely amusing. Yet it never has the courage to fully explore the havoc a real Oedipus complex can wreak on the lives of real adults.
The Brothers Duplass find humor and a lot of truth in those moments between spoken words, when the flick of an eyelid, the pulse of a vein or the purse of the lips can betray things that might otherwise not be stated.