The new dramedy Cyrus premiered at SXSW this weekend to an enthusiastic crowd here in Austin. So what if Sundance got it first? The stars John C. Reilly and Jonah Hill and directors the Duplass Brothers (the mumblecore heroes behind Puffy Chair and Baghead), screened the film Saturday night to a full house. The plot is about a middle-aged loser (Reilly) who gets the girl (Marisa Tomei), only to find out that her twentysomething (Hill) son refuses to let her go. (You can watch the trailer below if you want to pretty much get the whole plot before seeing the film.)
It's a fine story, with plenty of comedy and drama and great performances by Reilly and Tomei. It's also a surprising look at the acting chops of Jonah Hill, who plays his part just creepy enough to be both likable and disturbing. (Here's hoping he'll have more un-Apatow roles in the future.)
This is the Duplass brothers' first studio film (for the 20th Century Fox indie division Fox Searchlight) and in the Q&A afterward they gave some insight to their unique way of filming, which they hinted caused some distress at the studio. They shoot without storyboarding rehearsals or table reads—the first time the actors say their lines to each other is in front of the cameras. They also shoot in sequence (chronologically). And during shooting, they take a 30 minute walk every day, to clear their heads. Werner Herzog might be able to get away with it, but with a pair of up-and-coming gentlemen like the Duplass brothers it must have driven the "suits" nuts.