The Classic: Jerry Maguire
Director: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Tom Cruise, Renée Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr.
You may disagree with my classification of Jerry Maguire as a classic, but my definition of “classic” is pretty open to interpretation. Generally, I mean films that are a few decades old and are abiding favourites. Jerry Maguire is new in comparison, but people were always amazed to hear I hadn’t seen it, so there you have it. Somehow, I just never got around to watching it. Cameron Crowe is a director I like, especially for making films with beautiful sound and great stories like Almost Famous and Vanilla Sky.
Need I even provide a synopsis? Jerry Maguire is a football agent for a large company, and despite being great at his role, is a bit of a tortured soul. After sending out a memo endorsing smaller pools of contracted football players and more individual attention, he puts his job in jeopardy. He and his rival face off, leaving him with nought but two needy contracted players. Broke and clinging desperately to the bottom rung, with the help of Dorothy (Renee Zellweger) he vies to fulfil footballer Rod Tidwell’s (Cuba Gooding Jr.) contractual needs and make it to the end of the season.
While it’s a good story, and it’s always amusing to see classic quotes in action (see below), Jerry Maguire as a character simply was not endearing to me. Though his flaws were never kept secret, the character development was excuciatingly shallow and his whining, while at times fair, didn’t inspire empathy. Dorothy seemed far older than her alleged 26 years and desperate in a way only women in 90s films have achieved, and while Ray was cute, I guess the charm wore off a little over the past 14 years. Gooding Jr.’s Oscar was well-deserved, though, his performance entertaining without relying too heavily on stereotypes, and the relationship between him and his wife Marcee (Regina King) was excellent.
Underwhelmed. Quotable, but not a veritable classic.
“Show me the money!” – what else?!
Further Viewing for Experts: