The Oscar winner, 45, brings sizzle to one of summer's indie hits.

In a movie season filled with special effects and 3-D everything, the most surprising summer breakout might just be Cyrus, a low-budget black comedy that has recently been given a wide release. "Word of mouth keeps spreading," says Tomei, who plays a single mom whose romance with a lovable doof (John C. Reilly) gets derailed by her uncommonly close bond with her 21-year-old son, played by Jonah Hill. "It's funny, but it's also thought provoking. It definitely affects different people in different ways." Don't be surprised if you spend half the movie squirming in your seat, which is fine with Tomei. Says the actress: "I love comedy that comes out of awkward moments."