Jerry Maguire A, A-
US/1996/Color/Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1 or
Letterbox/Dolby Digital 5:1/139 minutes/Directed by Cameron Crowe/Starring Tom Cruise,
Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding, Jr./Col-Tristar/63 chaps/$29.95
I found two different films in Jerry Maguire. The first time it
was dominated by the world around it. The second time its wonderful romance spun
magic gloriously. Both films work. They work separately. They work individually.
Its a great achievement for writer/director Cameron Crowe. Crowes output since
his screenwriting debut with Fast Times at Ridgemont High in 1982 has been spare. The
creative gestation period needs patience. Proof is the body of work that Crowe is
building. The delightful Say Anything in 1989 was Crowes first writing/directing
double. He followed that with Singles, an on target look at young people trying to find
themselves and now, Crowe emerges with his greatest achievement, Jerry Maguire.
Jerry Maguire is a top sports agent at the crossroads of his life.
In a self-searching moment, Jerry formulates a new philosophy for sports agents and makes
the mistake of distributing copies of his manifesto to his peers. The
realization of what he has done is a refreshing moment, but Jerry cant get his
manuscripts back otherwise there would be no movie and no journey for this character.
Jerry must find a way to make his manifesto work as an agent and a man. The two journeys
Crowe mixes wonderful elements to produce a sterling screenplay.
Crowe integrates the many comic moments into the natural flow of action. Jerry Maguire is
a likable character. His co-worker Dorothy Boyd is a wonderful love interest.
Dorothy has a terrific kid who ignites Jerrys paternal instincts. Maguire
couldnt have a more challenging enigmatic client than football wide receiver Rod
Tidwell. And Tidwells family is treasure to be mined.
Tom Cruise brings all his boyish ebullience to the character
of Jerry Maguire. In no small measure, the force of Cruises screen presence forges
the title character with elements that prevent him from looking bad even at his most
critical moments. He handles dialogue beautifully. This is the best Cruise since Rain Man.
Its perfect casting. Providing love interest for Cruise, Renee Zellweger is a
refreshing screen charmer. The actress provides Dorothy Boyd with equal measures
of realist and dreamer. She does a lot of acting with her facial expressions going
beyond the limits of the script. Cuba Gooding, Jr. is an absolute joy as Rod Tidwell.
Gooding infuses Jerry Maguire with an enormous surge of energy. Gooding was awarded for
his fine performance with an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Many of the smaller
supporting roles are realized with equal vigor. Regina King is dynamite as Marcee Tidwell
and Bonnie Hunt gives Dorothys sister Laurel Boyd all the easy-going sass of a
comedienne with natural delivery. Jonathan Lipnicki is one great kid as little Ray Boyd.
Everybody wants to grab him up for a big hug. And dont diminish the contribution of
the smallest actor in Jerry Maguire.
The writing is simply beautiful. Lines like You complete
me. And Show me the money. are memorable and reflect the two different
Jerry Maguire movies. The arc of the movie is graceful and a true crowd-pleaser. You know
that the writer Crowe perused Jerry Maguires journey with a magnifying glass making
certain that every turn follows a truthful road. Director Crowe does a terrific job a
keeping the timing of the film perfectly in tune with story and characters. Jerry Maguire
provides more feel good movie moments than the entire Hollywood output in a
typical year. And it even plays with more depth on subsequent screenings.
Jerry Maguire is a splendid DVD offering. The anamorphic transfer
provides maximum vertical resolution for 16 x 9. The color is very good showing off the
lovely photography of Janusz Kaminksi. A scene at a copier store provides an amazing
rendition of blues and reds tinted by a fluorescent cast. The surround sound works well.
The beautifully scripted dialogue is cleanly delivered. Football stadium sequences
offer proper ambient sense and Nancy Wilsons score blends elegantly with the action.
A caveat: Columbia Tristar DVDs seem to default to two channel Dolby Digital. If you
are using a surround sound processor, make sure to adjust the audio button on your DVD
player to provide the Dolby Digital 5:1 tracks. The mystery of electronic interfaces is
often baffling. The package does not indicate Jerry Maguire is presented in an anamorphic
transfer. No DVD interface extras are provided.