Judge Clark Douglas wants you to help him help you.
The rest of his life begins now.
"Maybe love shouldn't be such hard work."
Facts of the Case
Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise, Minority Report) is your typical sleazy, greasy sports agent. One night, he undergoes a crisis of conscience. Jerry becomes convinced that the field of sports agency has become too money-oriented. He writes a 25-page mission statement, declaring to all in his office that their profession needs to focus less on money and more on relationships. Everyone in the office responds with applause and enthusiasm. Then Jerry is fired by his boss (Jay Mohr, Pay It Forward). So much for idealism.
Jerry desperately attempts to salvage his career, becoming an independent agent and calling his clients as quickly as possible. Attempt after attempt to keep the star athletes fails, and soon Jerry is down to one last client. That would be Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr., Snow Dogs), a hot-tempered football player with a lot of demands. Maguire's only hope of survival as an agent is to make Rod an extremely successful athlete.
Most think Jerry's desperate quest for success is a foolish mission…even Jerry's fiancée (Kelly Preston). Fortunately, Jerry has a single loyal supporter in his corner. Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger, Leatherheads) is the one person who admires Jerry's admirable mission statement enough to become his disciple. Before long, Dorothy begins to admire more about Jerry than his business standards. Will these two find romance? Will their business venture succeed? Will they learn some life lessons? Will Jerry show Rod the money? Find out the answers to these exciting questions and more in Cameron Crowe's Jerry Maguire!
Remember that really popular kid in high school? You know, the funny and handsome one that everybody wanted to be? Imagine visiting that kid 10 years later and discovering that he's an overweight alcoholic living on welfare. Revisiting Jerry Maguire in 2008 is a little bit like that. I'll admit, it's kind of difficult to view this film without thinking about everything that has happened to those who made this film since 1996. Tom Cruise couch-jumping over Katie Holmes, Cuba Gooding Jr. doing everything in his power to make the Academy regret giving him an Oscar, director Cameron Crowe making Elizabethtown…yeah, it's a little awkward going back. Still, even with all the baggage it's gathered over the years, Jerry Maguire retains some of that old charm.
The film's biggest attribute is probably its broad appeal. It's not amazing at any one particular thing, but it succeeds to some degree on every level. Jerry Maguire works as a comedy, it works as a drama, and it works as a romance. The tender love story appeals to female viewers, the sports drama and behind-the-scenes look at the life of a professional agent keeps the men interested, and the humor is well-balanced enough to make everybody laugh a bit (yes, I recognize that there's crossover from both genders for every genre, but permit me the generalization).
Tom Cruise is in pretty solid form here. Though I think Cruise has his limitations as an actor, he was born to play the "arrogant jerk who learns how to be a nice guy" role. It's a part that Cruise has played time and time again, perhaps never better than here. He provides a solid blend of sleaze, charm, narcissism and warmth quite successfully. I'm not sure that he deserved his Oscar nomination, but it's a good turn. Speaking of Oscars, Cuba Gooding Jr. actually won one for his energetic portrayal of the cocky Rod Tidwell. That one probably wasn't deserved either. People have often labeled Gooding's Best Supporting Actor win as one of the biggest mistakes the Academy has ever made. That may be true, but it doesn't take away from the fact that Gooding is actually pretty magnetic in Jerry Maguire. As good as both of those guys are, my favorite performance in the film comes from Renee Zellweger. She's rarely been more appealing than she is in this film, and she has terrific chemistry with Cruise.
Maybe Cameron Crowe's screenplay lays on the life lessons a little thick at times, but you have to give credit to a movie that produces no less than three iconic movie lines: "Show me the money!," "Help me help you," and "You had me at hello." These lines have all become tired punch lines at this point, but watching the film again reminded me of why they actually stuck with people. This isn't Crowe's best film (for my money, that would be Almost Famous), but he does a solid job of keeping this 138-minute film from ever feeling bloated or self-indulgent.
The hi-def transfer is pretty solid. The film looks clean and well-balanced. Facial detail is sharp, blacks are deep. There's nothing jaw-dropping here, but the movie looks good in hi-def. There's a bit of grain here and there, but nothing too distracting. Sound is solid, spotlight Crowe's typically well-picked soundtrack selections. Extras are all hauled over from the previous DVD release. The best of the bunch is a commentary with Crowe, Cruise, Zellweger, and Gooding, which is fun and informative. There's also a making-of featurette, some deleted scenes, and various fun odds and ends related to the film (a Springsteen music video, a Rod Tidwell commercial, and so on).
The Rebuttal Witnesses
There's really not a lot to complain about here. I will say that Jay Mohr make a pretty bland and one-dimensional villain, and that adorable little kid that everybody loves…okay, I won't pick on the kid. As I said earlier, Crowe's screenplay is a little too preachy for its own good. We get that being selfish is bad. You don't need to remind us so often.
Everything in Jerry Maguire is more or less stuff we've seen before, but these familiar elements are blended in a particularly satisfactory manner. This is an ideal date movie, one that's hard to dislike even today. The hi-def release doesn't really add much incentive for those who own the DVD to upgrade, but it's obviously the way to go if you haven't checked out Jerry Maguire yet.
Jerry Maguire had the jury at hello. Not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
• Commentary w/Cameron Crowe, Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, & Cuba Gooding, Jr.
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