Director: Cameron Crowe
Jerry Maguire’s the typical Tom Cruise character: successful, talented, smooth-talking and charismatic, with a smile wide enough to lure the most skeptic observer. A bullshit artist, but with a good heart. Maguire works as a sports agent for a big firm, and he’s got tons of big contracts. He’s about to get married to a woman as ambitious as him (Kelly Preston) and everything in his future looks bright. Big mistake!
One strange night after he’s confronted to one too many situation requiring him to be heartless and all about business, Maguire grows a conscience and writes a memo -sorry, a mission statement- inviting the company to manage less athletes, make less money, but be closer to the people. That makes sense on paper, but his bosses are really not very hot about that idea and before long, Jerry’s fired. He starts a new company, but none of his clients follow him besides a talented yet arrogant football player played by Cuba Gooding Jr. Will that be enough to save his job?
The script of this movie is very inventive. It tells a story about sport, but it’s also a love story. After Maguire leaves his insensitive future wife, he gets closer to a charming young single mom (Renee Zellweger), the only one from the big company who followed him when he was fired. That could be corny, but the film is surprisingly well written. The dialogue is sharp and funny, but also insightful a lot of time. The characters are well defined and endearing, and Cameron Crowe‘s direction is great. There is plenty of interesting camerawork and I also love the way the film is edited: the storytelling is very dynamic. The music is also very cool.
As for the cast, it’s amazing. I’m not a big fan of Tom Cruise, but in this film, he’s truly good. It’s very enjoyable to see him struggle for once. He doesn’t play, like, a loser, but his character ain’t as perfect as most of his previous roles. Renee Zellweger is also fantastic. She’s good looking, funny and moving, too. Cuba Gooding Jr. is totally delirious! He’s really funny, and his performance is as enthusiastic as it gets. The man sure is full of energy! Even little Jonathan Lipnicki is very good. For a kid, he’s quite funny and talented. This film doesn’t have the power of an indie picture like, say, “Fargo”, but it has a lot of charm and it’s smarter than most Hollywood movies. It’s terrific entertainment.
When I first saw “Jerry Maguire”, I didn’t even know who Cameron Crowe was. Here was this mainstream Tom Cruise flick that just happened to be surprisingly well written and directed. Since then I’ve caught up to the rest of Crowe’s filmography, watching each of his movies many, many times. In that perspective, while “Jerry Maguire” remains a very good picture vastly superior to most of the crap Hollywood usually produces, it’s probably my least favorite of Crowe’s. See, what do we love about Cameron? His heart, his sense of humor, his great taste in music. Football? Not so much. Then there’s the fact that movies that make as big a pop culture splash as “Jerry Maguire” can become victims of their own success. You don’t hear sharp dialogue anymore, it’s one-liners that have been quoted to death. It’s also hard to believe that Jonathan Lipnicki and Cuba Gooding Jr. were actually fresh and fun in 1996, now that they’ve grown into C-list annoyances. At least the romance still works, better than ever. Zellwegger and Cruise are utterly lovable together, they break my heart then magically reassemble it. That’s my Cameron Crowe.