in Review

AJ the Movie


Why it was just earlier this year that I became a fan of the Duplass brothers. Key players in the Mumblecore scene, a kind of film genre involving zero budgets, non-professional actors and improvised scripts. I was impressed with what Jay and Mark Duplass accomplished with so little in their films The Puffy Chair and especially Baghead. Nowadays it would appear the duo has worked their way up to working with A-Listers or at least B+-Listers with their latest indie/drama Cyrus.

John C. Reilly, in a more subdued than usual role plays John, a lonely divorcee with some questionable pickup methods. Though with some convincing from John’s ex-wife and still friend Jamie (Catherine Keener) John ends up going to a hip party where out of dumb luck he meets the beautiful Molly (Marisa Tomei) but right from the get go John can see that Molly is hiding something. After some stalker like snooping John soon finds out that Molly is immensely attached to her stay at home 21 year old son Cyrus (Jonah Hill). A not so typical mamma’s boy, Cyrus is hardly comfortable with a new addition to the family and stops at nothing to break up John and Molly.

First off I got to say Jonah Hill is best part of this movie. Coming off like some kind of warped Oedipus type, he shows the most range in any role he’s had yet and easily has the most laughs. While on the topic of Cyrus I have to say my friends and I couldn’t stop laughing at how much Cyrus reminded us of our friend AJ. Not because AJ is an overly clingy mamma’s boy but due to the fact they’re both aspiring electronic musicians and they bare a slight resemblance. It was strange watching Cyrus display his electronica music, I suppose art imitates life or something.

Really what I wish Cyrus had more of was laughs. I know it’s a drama that’s trying to feel believable and natural but with such a silly premise I would of liked to see some more wacky antics from John C. Reilly or Jonah Hill. Also I’m not sure I was too impressed with the Duplass brother’s continuing to utilize mumblecore camera work. I can see why they enjoy heavy zooming as it almost gives the film a documentary style but hear it just felt sloppy. Their editing continues to confuse me a little as well with their use of occasional jump cuts but I still enjoy their films and look forward to what they’ll do next.


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