JERRY MAGUIRE (1996) 

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Tom Cruise
Cuba Gooding Jr.
Renee Zellweger
Bonnie Hunt
Kelly Preston
Jonathan Lipnicki
Regina King
Jay Mohr
Eric Stoltz

Cameron Crowe




Time: 138 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Drama/Romance

Won Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (Gooding). Nominations for Best Actor (Cruise), Best Film Editing, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

SYNOPSIS: When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him.

Now I have to admit, right up front, that I am not a big fan of Tom Cruise. Granted he's very successul, so I give him a lot of credit for having the biggest career on the planet, but I don't think he knows the meaning of the word stretch, not that he has to. No one could have played the role of Jerry Maguire, but Tom Cruise. It was clearly written for him and he does a good job. He even acted a bit. But did he deserve to get awards for this performance, I don't think so. However, Tom's acting, or lack of it, is not why I didn't thoroughly love this movie. I know they wanted to show the entire life of his character, but I would have preferred if they had chosen one relationship to be the main one. Either it's a love story or it's a story about friendship. But it can't be both without sacrificing the emotion of one to the other.

I found the scenes with Cuba Gooding Jr. were the more interesting ones and wanted to learn more about that world. I wish that that was the film's focus. It was more fun. He could have had a girlfriend, and some conflicts with her, but there was just way too much emotional baggage with Zellweger's character. The kid was cute, but not really necessary to the reasons why Jerry didn't want to commit to Dorothy. He was just way too self-involved to have a successful, loving relationship, instant family or not. And this brings me to another bone of contention I have with this film. Everyone involved said they were glad to be working on a film that had a strong female character. Huh? Unless they were talking about Kelly Preston's or Bonnie Hunt's, I just don't get it. The character of Dorothy Boyd put women back 20 years. The only strong thing she does in the film is quit her job to go with Jerry and even that can be construed as maybe a little nuts, considering she did it more because she had a crush on him then because she believed in his "mission statement." He only had one client and she had a son to raise. Intelligent move? I don't think so.

"Do you know what it's like to be ME out here for YOU? It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about!"

Now some may argue she took a stand when she booted him out of her life after they were married. The key here is "after they were married." If she were a "strong" woman she never would have married him, no matter how much she loved him, because she knew he hadn't changed and wasn't ready for the committment. It could only end badly, which it did. She had more than herself to think about and she didn't think at all, because she truly believed she could change him, and we all know that that doesn't happen. If she were strong, she would have moved to San Diego, forcing Jerry to realize what he had let go and maybe what he could have again once he grew up. Instead, she gave in when she knew he was only asking her to marry him because he was afraid to be alone. True to life maybe, strong, certainly not. This isn't to say that I didn't like Dorothy or Renee's performance. I did. She held her own opposite Mr. Cruise and that's not an easy feat. Her choices just disappointed me greatly.

All of this aside, I did enjoy the movie quite a lot. It had some very funny, very poignant and very sexy scenes. Everyone did their jobs quite well. One of the best pictures of 1996, definitely. I just thought it was a little too schizophrenic for its own good. Pick a direction and go with it. Every film doesn't have to include every relationship a person could possibly have. As it stands, it's probably the best part Cruise will ever commit to the big screen, so fan or not it's one to see.

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