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Jerry Maguire

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Jerry Maguire

Starring: Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger
Director: Cameron Crowe
Rated: R
RunTime: 138 Minutes
Release Date: December 1996
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Sports

*Also starring: Glenn Frey, Jonathan Lipnicki, Todd Louiso, Regina King, Cuba Gooding Jr., Bonnie Hunt, Jay Mohr, Kelly Preston

Review by Andrew Hicks
3½ stars out of 4

Tom Cruise can act. Who knew? He's given passable performances in a lot of movies, but in JERRY MAGUIRE, for the first time, you don't consciously think of him as Tom Cruise during every scene. He actually becomes the character, a new concept for a Cruise film... Okay, so I'm exaggerating a bit. Cruise was great in RAINMAN back in '87, but in the almost ten years since, he hasn't shown us a whole lot in the way of talent, unless running down a street with briefcase in hand or yelling "DID YOU ORDER THAT CODE RED?!!!" at top volume is true talent.

A lot of Cruise's performance comes courtesy of writer and director Cameron Crowe (SAY ANYTHING), who himself has said he tried to completely remold Cruise for the role of Jerry Maguire. It helped immensely that his script made Maguire and everyone else complex and likeable characters for the audience to care about. Under Crowe's direction, the rest of the cast holds their own with Cruise, especially relative-unknown Renee Zellweger as Maguire's assistant and eventual love interest.

Cruise, as Jerry Maguire, is a hot-shot sports agent who lives a superficial life of money and inside connections until he reaches an epiphany one night and labors away at his laptop, churning out page after page of drivel for the masses, as I'm doing right now, only Maguire is drunk at the time and sticks a lot of hasty words in this "mission statement" that he later regrets writing. Among other things, he calls for the agency to which he belongs to spend more time with clients and make more personal sacrifices.

He makes copies for every employee of the agency and, within a week, is fired by his former prot g (Jay Mohr of "SNL" fame). Making a big speech upon his exit from the company, he calls for anyone with integrity to come with him and begin anew. The lone respondant to this request is Zellweger, a single parent risking everything because she believes in Cruise's integrity. That Cruise has the nicest ass in America probably has something to do with that decision.

Mohr convinces every client Cruise has to drop Cruise and side with the organization that fired him -- every client but one, that is, a receiver with the Phoenix Cardinals. Played by Cuba Gooding Jr., this guy is obnoxious, flamboyant and greedy. I was wondering where the red hair, nose-rings, tattoos and appearances on "The RuPaul Show" were; that's how close Gooding's character is to Dennis Rodman. A big difference, though, is that Gooding is sensible, likeable and devoted to his wife (Regina "227" King) and children, as well as his longtime agent, Maguire. That Cruise has the nicest ass in America probably has something to do with that decision.

Maguire's life is in the locker room crapper throughout most of JERRY MAGUIRE, as he loses his job, his clients and his fianc e (Kelly Preston, in her first movie this presidential administration), and has to decide whether or not he's really in love with Zellweger. Hell, after seeing this movie, everyone in Hollywood should be in love with Zellweger, whose down-to-earth appearance and acting ability will probably earn her several more big movie roles soon.

JERRY MAGUIRE is definitely not short on talent. Cruise, Zellweger and Gooding are the movie's brightest stars, but the smaller roles from King, Mohr, Bonnie Hunt (as Zellweger's protective older sister) and, yes, even Preston contribute a lot to the film as well. It's Crowe's own genius that lend the most to JERRY MAGUIRE. It's rare these days to find a mainstream, big- budget movie with a brain and a heart, but this one's got that and a warm sense of humor with which the laughs don't stem from bodily functions or vulgarities but sentimentality. I loved this movie and I'll probably see it again. That Cruise has the nicest ass in America probably has something to do with that decision... Sorry, I had to say that one last time.

Copyright 1997 Andrew Hicks

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