Sons and Lovers
One woman comes between two men in this ingeniously awkward romantic comedy
Maybe it's just a trick of the big screen, but Jonah Hill has a fat, gigantic head. He's funny looking, as in he looks like someone who can make you laugh. He's also sort of scary looking, like he could maybe be a serial killer, or a serious person such as a scientist or something involving being super-smart. Not to be profiling or anything, but he also looks like somebody who smokes a lot of pot, and not just because of his turns as ball-busting dope-smoking smartass-prick characters in comedies. He also looks, with his little cupid's-bow mouth, like a giant preternaturally intelligent child, a baby almost, terrifyingly so, and he even did a sketch on Saturday Night Live where he played a child or a human who looked like a child, we forget. And it's not important, because the point here is we find ourselves always ready to be entertained by the all-purpose oddity that is Jonah Hill, and we enjoy our own personal audience warmup simply by gazing at him, observing his distorted features which he can--at will, it seems--organize into visages both debasing and dignified. The one thing we never assumed Jonah Hill could ever do, though, would be to be able to act, dramatically and convincingly, and he does so here. Jonah Hill portrays the titular son, Cyrus.
Meanwhile, John C. Reilly, with his prominent frontal bossing of the brow, suggestive of acromegaly, pretty much has always looked like someone from the past, possibly possessed of limited intellect (or perhaps even a proto-human, if you will, providing you subscribe to a theory of evolution), a being who is good natured enough, but really doesn't quite understand what is happening, ever, very fast, if at all. At the insulting very least, Reilly looks like the average guy, which is perfect, because in Hollywood the idea is if you think you are looking at the average guy and he's kind of a dolt, then it makes you feel better about yourself and you'll buy another movie ticket. Reilly is an unconventional leading man. In Cyrus, John C. Reilly portrays the damaged suitor, John.
Marisa Tomei is totally hot. She's in Cyrus as Molly, the mother, the object shrouded in mystery, namely, why the fuck she would hang out with this guy John? You will realize an answer.
Jay and Mark Duplass have written and directed a solid, quiet, unsettling, touching, and just-unpredictable-enough R-rated romantic family comedy about John, who is an ex-husband and a good enough guy, but he doesn't quite have his shit together yet personally. So he is a giant pain in the ass to his ex-wife Jamie (Catherine Keener, who is always great but doesn't have a whole lot to do here), and after we learn way more than we ever really needed to know about John and endure an excruciating, majestically fail-tacular avert-your-eyes-train-wreck-party-foul moment, John meets Molly, and romance ensues.
Molly wears all kinds of quirky fashions, and then shit gets weird and complicated, here in the summer of Jonah Hill, who is also in Get Him to the Greek, and now he's playing Cyrus, Molly's son, who does not approve of what's happening with John and Molly and conflict ensues. There's, like, personal growth and exploration that occurs but it's so well tuned into the developments of the story that it's completely painless and not corny to watch. It's real and unreal, but always compelling and interesting and just as things dissolve into the absurd, we snap back to real, with Tomei, Reilly, and Hill's natural, sympathetic, and engaging performances keeping us from questioning anything, and you're even going to learn some valuable lessons with the bonus of witnessing the tiniest, funniest, most gigantic "fuck you" ever recorded in cinema here in this awkward, oedipal, and bizarrely honest story.