Of all the people who have been handed movie stardom by Judd Apatow, Jonah Hill has seemed to show the least desire to do anything outside of that particular universe, outside of a couple of voice-over kids movies. And he hasn't had to, getting more then one leading role in that set-up and turning in some very strong comic performances. Cyrus is the first real example of him stepping out, and although one could argue that the material isn't a hundred miles away from his usual fare, its a sign that Hill might actually be a very strong actor in his own right, and not just a recipient of a comedic version of the cheerleader effect.
Cyrus in a way is a melding of Greenberg and Step-Brothers, in that John C Reilly plays a depressed, miserable loner who hooks up with Marisa Tomei only to find out her son is Jonah Hill (synopsis five.) And slightly twisted rivalry high-jinks ensue. I like Reilly a lot, both the PT Anderson and the Will Ferrell versions, although at times I wish I'd see the former a bit more. There's elements of him here, in that Reilly creates a believable character and gives a good, restrained performance. It was always going to be Hill's film to own, and he does so very impressively, channeling the creepiness that was always on the fringes of previous performances and allowing it to take center stage, enhanced by a more considered, deadpan delivery. He even excels in the more dramatic moments. Its both suitably funny and creepy, and it lends the film a dimension it arguably doesn't deserve, as its actually quite a simple film that tells its story and concept straight up, and while the oedipal pangs are in the subtext, that's where they stay. Tomei doesn't get too much to do, but she's a likable enough character for us not to mind.
I'll say I was expecting a final punch that didn't come, and in a way the film ended rather quietly and optimistically, which isn't a bad thing necessarily, but I'd be lying if I weren't willing it to be more fucked up then it was. An interesting little movie that had a couple of strong moments, but was always lacking a little something to make it explode. Plus Jonah Hill is really fat these days.