Starring: Tom Cruise, Renée Zellweger, Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Director: Cameron Crowe
Running Time: 133 mins
Jerry Maguire is an American film about a sports agent who, after experiencing an eye-opening epiphany surrounding the effects of his work, is forced out of his job and into the wilderness. However, with a one loyal client and a former co-worker, he begins to see that there’s more to life than just making big business deals.
This is an engrossing film that’s full of heart, humour, drama and great performances, as it seeks to bring a bit of joy to what it calls a cynical world. In that, Jerry Maguire is a pleasant and often even moving watch, but it regularly goes overboard with its optimist message, making for an often frustratingly cheesy film that I personally could never be as captivated by.
Let’s start off on the bright side, however, with the performances. Showcasing Tom Cruise, Renée Zellweger and Cuba Gooding, Jr. at the height of their powers, the acting in this film is great from start to finish. Cruise’s effortlessly charismatic turn that still manages to pack a dramatic punch is wonderful to watch throughout, and reminds you that he’s so much more than just an action star, Zellweger is a likable and pleasant presence throughout to balance against the high drama surrounding Cruise’s character, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. brings a really lively spark to the film as a whole.
That’s one of the things that I really liked about this film, just how funny it was. While its premise is undoubtedly more centred on the dramatic side of things, in true Cameron Crowe fashion, it never forgets the importance of bringing some light humour to proceedings. As a result, along with the emotional power of the central plot, the relationships and mishaps that unfold alongside are hilarious, particularly in that between Cuba Gooding Jr. and Tom Cruise, who have such excellent chemistry together that every moment they’re on screen as a duo is full of life and humour, which was brilliant to see.
When it comes to the romantic side of the story, that between Cruise and Zellweger, things aren’t necessarily quite as powerful as the deeply emotional individual journey that we see Jerry Maguire himself go on. As the main character experiences such an upheaval in his entire philosophy and lifestyle, I didn’t quite feel the same level of change and development when it came to the romance between him and his former co-worker, a romance that’s more often than not a little inconsistent, and full of unfortunately cheesy twists that feel a little shoehorned in to make for some more drama.
In general, that’s my biggest qualm with Jerry Maguire. While it has great drama and humour that makes for an undoubtedly engrossing watch from start to finish, it’s by no means immune to being really, really cheesy. Now, you may call me a pessimist, and maybe I am being a little too cynical, but there are times when the film is so outspoken about bringing joy to a cynical world and making life a little better that it’s hard to take it seriously.
Unlike Cameron Crowe’s masterpiece Almost Famous, which uses a more mellow and heartwarming story to bring some optimism about, Jerry Maguire feels a little too shallow on that front, which means that it’s hard to warm to its positive-thinking philosophy in the same way, making it all feel a little too cheesy.
Overall, however, I had a great time with Jerry Maguire. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s an intimately emotional and riveting drama that’s still full of great humour and heart, furthered by three excellent central performances that do well to work against an unfortunately cheesy screenplay that just doesn’t have the depth to really make its central message as powerful as it aims to be, which is why I’m giving it a 7.6.