Jerry Maguire

Bottom Line: (Time for another horrible pun:) A film that had me at “hello”, but didn’t quite show me the money.

“SHOW ME THE MONEY!” –Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire

Directed by: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Bonnie Hunt, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jay Mohr, Jerry O’Connell, Jonathan Lipnicki, Kelly Preston, Regina King, Renee Zellweger, Todd Louiso, Tom Cruise

I’m not all too wild over sports. There isn’t much in the activity I find exciting. Whenever the Super Bowl plays on television every February, I do watch it, but not for the game: for the national anthem, the commercials, and the halftime show. Films which narrate sports are something completely different. The messages delivered to a non-sports fan–and possibly even those who live, breath, sweat, and bleed sports–usually speak along the lines of, “There’s more to it than what you see on TV.” Within the first minute, JERRY MAGUIRE establishes itself with a promise to fulfill that phrase, perhaps more than most other films of the genre do. We are drawn in by that statement, and the film does deliver, but not in the most steady or thoughtful of ways.

Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is a sports agent working for a company called “Sports Management International”. After spending an entire night writing up a mission statement about how sports business should work, and sending it out to the rest of the business, he enters work applauded by nearly the whole business. To his surprise, Jerry’s protégé has been sent to fire him shortly after. After finding a wide receiver (Cuba Gooding Jr.) who wants him as an agent, he decides to begin an independent business upon leaving “SMI”. Only one previous co-worker, a single mother named Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger), joins him, leading the two of them to begin a somewhat unlikely relationship outside the business.

“I love you. You…you complete me. And I just…” –Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire
“Shut up, just shut up. You had me at ‘hello’.” –Renee Zellweger as Dorothy Boyd

As a romance, JERRY MAGUIRE fails. There is little chemistry that makes an onscreen relationship between actors such as Zellweger and Cruise believable. Furthermore, their characters seem to hardly love each other. I’d estimate that the two of them broke up and got back together at least four times throughout the film. Above all, I must add that the ending is charming, but predictable and lacking in realism. And the romance is only showcased during the latter half. The film, in whole, is a comedy, and it takes off in that sense. Cuba Gooding Jr. ostentatiously presents himself as a comedic genius, who turns the script into a wild festival of massive laughs. Once his character is introduced (with the unforgettably hysterical “Show Me the Money” sequence) about a half hour into the film, he makes Tom Cruise’s sarcastic introduction look mildly amusing. It’s a shame his great acting skill was almost instantly killed off after this 1996 release.

“Help me…help you. Help me, help you.” –Tom Cruise as Jerry Maguire

JERRY MAGUIRE is a fairly satisfying film. You’d be surprised how little it actually presents sports and its athletic nature, despite the plot revolving around the activity. Though there is a bit of exaggeration on Jerry’s character, he is an interesting one to watch, especially when solidly acted by Tom Cruise. However funny and charismatic the film may be, it is not quite a classic. Yes, it is quotable in several places–all the above quotes originated in this film and their are more–and it shouldn’t be legal to forget a scene as wonderfully made as Cuba’s “Show Me the Money” telephone scene. As a whole, the film is a mixed bag, equally strewn with the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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2 thoughts on “Jerry Maguire

  1. Good review. I liked it more than you did, but I always have a grudge for Cuba Gooding Jr. winning an Oscar over William Macy for Fargo. Still, it’s a pretty good film (not the best romantic comedy, but not a bad one), and it’s nice to see back when Cameron Crowe was in his prime.

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