One More Safety Dance Please

“Cyrus” is a frustrating experience in spite of housing exceptional performances by John C. Reilly, and Marisa Tomei, which eventually become lost in this muddled, and painfully unfunny comedy from the Duplass brothers.

The movie starts off promising when meeting the lonely, confused main character of John, played by Reilly. He is a man down on his luck, that agrees to attend a party thrown by his ex-wife, (Catherine Keener) who hopes that maybe he can connect with one of the women there. John tries desperately to connect with some of the women, and even tries bearing his soul to one. His attempts fail miserably until he crosses paths with Molly, (Tomei) who seems to take a liking to this poor unfortunate soul. John and Molly’s chemistry is then exposed over the song “Safety Dance,” and it seems like a match made in heaven.

Sadly, the film’s opening scenes with Reilly and Tomei are the strongest part of the movie. Both actors bring strong conviction to their perspective roles, which allows the viewer a glimpse into two lonely souls that need each other. The picture’s innovative camera work helps give the feeling that we are watching real people and not actors, which makes for a small dose of movie heaven.

However, that trip is short-lived, and you are shortly sent to movie hell. The movie trades in an intelligent romantic comedy for bottom of the barrel humor, that appeals more to the current youth market than anyone else. The earlier performances are even pushed aside, while we wallow in one incredibly stupid premise.

It seems that Molly’s son, Cyrus (Jonah Hill) has developed an unhealthy attachment to his mother.

Goodbye cute and smart romance comedy and hello stereotypical bonehead comedy.

The movie never comes back from the brink after this point, which leaves the opening as a tease for the audience that expected something intelligent. An occasional scene between Reilly and Tomei, will briefly renew your interest, but that is often short-lived. When the directors noticed the chemistry between Reilly and Tomei, they should have ditched their script in favor of making a more honest, and poignant picture.

The problem with “Cyrus” is simply Cyrus. This isn’t exactly Hill’s fault, since the script created a character with no redeeming qualities. We are left wondering if he is in love with his mother, but the Duplass brothers were not bold enough to go deeper into that. In fact, the addition of this bizarre premise is pointless, and seems thrown in for shock value.

The theme explored here in the past, has been reserved for horror and dramas such as “Rivals,” and “The Sailor, Who Fell From Grace With the Sea,” and does not lead itself to a comedy because it is deeply disturbing. At certain points, we even lose sympathy for John, because it seems he should walk away from Molly, who is dealing with some deeply personal issues. Once the red flag with Molly appeared, John should have known better.

Mark and Jay Duplass didn’t find the right tone for this picture, creating a mess. On their next picture, maybe they should do a little more planning because this attempt feels lazy and stupid. They had great ideas at the beginning then didn’t seem to know where to go from there.

“Cyrus” could have been a groundbreaking comedy, that attempted some new ideas, and insightful perspectives, but instead wasted two exceptional performances. It would be great to see Reilly and Tomei share the screen again, for a more promising romantic comedy.

About Anthony Benedetto 1 Article
I have always had a tremendous passion for the cinema. For me, movies provide a great escape. When done right, the characters and stories are something that I am instantly drawn into. Over the years, I’ve unintentionally become a movie encyclopedia that I often find myself the recipient of late night phone calls from my friends while at Blockbuster [One such conversation between the Editor of this site and the film “Redbelt” immediately comes to mind.] As far as my preferences go however, I love both the cult cinema and the classics. My love of film ranges from features such as “Amadeus” to “Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl-A- Rama.” I have a long range of film heroes as well that include, Michael J. Fox, Lloyd Kaufman, Robby Benson, Michael Caine and Jeff Bridges. On this site, I hope to teach people about cult cinema and have them rent films that they normally would not, turning you into the monster that I have become. Someday, I hope to be the star and director of my cult film, employing the old stop motion techniques used in films like “Flesh Gordon.”

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