Jerry Maguire is a 1996 American romantic comedy-drama film starring Tom Cruise. It was written, co-produced, and directed by Cameron Crowe. The film released in North American theaters on December 13, 1996, distributed by Gracie Films and TriStar Pictures. The film received mostly positive reviews and, on a $50 million budget, was a financial success, bringing in more than $270 million worldwide. Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is a glossy 35-year-old sports agent working for Sports Management International (SMI). After suffering a nervous breakdown as a result of stress and a guilty conscience, he writes a mission statement about perceived dishonesty in the sports management business and how he believes that it should be operated. He distributes copies of it, entitled "The Things We Think and Do Not Say: The Future of Our Business". His co-workers are touched by his honesty and greet him with applause, but the management sends Bob Sugar (Jay Mohr), Maguire's protégé, to fire him. Jerry and Bob call all of Jerry's clients to try to convince them not to hire the services of the other. Jerry speaks to Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), one of his clients who
Release Date: December 13, 1996
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Cameron Crowe seems to have a penchant for making comedies that gradually evolve into thickly sentimental melodramas, e.g., "Singles" and "Say Anything." But Crowe reaches some kind of zenith in that regard with the Tom Cruise vehicle "Jerry Maguire," a self-important, overlong, highly inflated sports satire-cum-love story. As satire, it can't touch any single episode of "Arli$$," the riotous (if profane) HBO series about an agent, which mercilessly skewers the world of sports on a regular basis. And "Jerry Maguire's" secondary tale, of an egotist who can't make commitment part of romance - or even marriage! - has been told a few too many times. (And often by Crowe or Cruise.) That said, "Jerry Maguire" does have much to recommend it, including Cruise's most relaxed and confident - and occasionally goofy - performance in many years. And there are plenty of supporting players on hand who help make this a better movie than it has any right to be. Cruise is the title character, a top-of-the-line sports agent and glad-handing huckster who sounds like he's doing a commercial every time he opens his mouth. Late one night, after a few too many drinks, he finds his thoughts inexplicably filled with heady ideals. Unable to sleep, Jerry writes a "mission statement," a memo in booklet form that suggests money should not be the primary goal - that agents with fewer clients could give each one of those clients more personal attention. Then he has it copied, bound and distributed to all of his co-workers. The next day, Jerry wakes up, realizes what he's done and wonders what the heck he was thinking. But as he returns to work, everyone gives him applause and encouragement . . . while taking bets behind his back about how long he'll last. And, of course, it isn't long. When Jerry is fired, Dorothy (Renee Zellweger), an accountant he has hardly noticed, is inspired by his newfound ideals and leaves the agency to become his secretary. Naturally, they will begin a romance, ably abetted by her utterly charming young son (shameless scene-stealing Jonathan Lipnicki). Meanwhile, Jerry strokes Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr. in a fiery, starmaking performance). Rod has become Jerry's only client - a talented football player and family man who, unfortunately, has a chip on his shoulder and an outsized view of his worth on the endorsement market. Crowe is good with dialogue, and there are some very nice exchanges here, especially in the film's first half. And the buddy story of Jerry and Rod is definitely the highlight. But the women get short shrift, and despite her sweet, endearing, slighty ditsy performance, Zellweger's character is woefully underdeveloped. (Bonnie Hunt has some funny zingers as Dorothy's sister, but she doesn't have nearly enough to do.) Worse, in the end, the film itself takes a low-road approach to its subject. Because the Jerry-Dorothy story isn't as strong as the Jerry-Rod story, the ending feels like the audience is being encouraged to cheer for the wrong reasons. Not because Jerry finally acknowledges his love for and commits himself to Dorothy, but because he has managed to steer a multimillion-dollar deal Rod's way. For a movie that pretends to be about high ideals, that's a pretty cynical conclusion. (Of course, it's hard to feel sorry for Gooding's character anyway, once it's clear he's complaining about earning several hundred thousand dollars a year instead of millions!) A good half-hour too long (it clocks in at 135 minutes), "Jerry Maguire" certainly has its moments (and any movie featuring Bonnie Hunt is worth a look). But it suffers from the same problem it criticizes most its characters about. It talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk. Or, in other words, it simply doesn't have heart. "Jerry Maguire" is rated R for considerable profanity and vulgarity, as well as sex, nudity and violence.December 13th, 1996 · Details
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