Jerry Maguire (1996) Review

It is rare that you watch a movie where Tom Cruise is not likeable. Unfortunately for Jerry Maguire, where Tom Cruise plays the titular character, that is exactly the case. This would be fine if you slowly grow to like his character as the movie progresses but this doesn’t happen. Luckily, there is enough here that you will like to keep you invested.

Its an unusual movie. There is a romantic drama hidden in Jerry Maguire but on the surface it is a sports movie. A film about Cruise’s sports agent who publicly (and quite embarrassingly) quits his well-paid, well-connected job and tries to go it alone as a gesture of ethics. Essentially committing career suicide, only Cuba Gooding Jr’s NFL player Rod Tidwell stays with him and lowly secretary Dorothy, played by Renee Zellweger, comes to work for him. Its this trio of characters that makes the movie work so well.

Cruise’s Maguire may by a complete tool but Cruise is still as charismatic as ever and holds the screen with every scene. There is no action here and in a movie that uses his dramatic talents rather than his adrenaline fuelled ones, its refreshing to see the actor showcasing a part of his repertoire you forget he can handle so well.

Gooding Jr is just above comedic relief. His scenes are the most fun and he manages to balance the humour, from getting Cruise to shout “show me the money” in a public office, with the tragedy, as you realise how dependent on a decent contract the future of his family actually is. The film would work if it was just their story and it almost becomes that as the final act comes into play. This isn’t a criticism, as you become as invested in this sports star’s career as Jerry is himself.

There is a love story underneath the sports though and it is a refreshing one. Zellweger is on top form as the timid but positive Dorothy, who has a crush on Maguire and gets sucked into his world. This is Zellweger on top form, showing why she is star and how she can handle the female lead. Her and Cruise are a believable couple and create a believable romantic journey on-screen. You are rooting for the two to succeed and the bumps they hit along the way don’t feel forced or cliched, which in itself is refreshing.

The fact that you are invested in both the sports star’s career and central romance is a huge positive because the movie struggles to maintain the interest in place. For a story as simple as the one it is telling, the film is far too long and points are just plain dull. This isn’t helped when Cruise’s Maguire continues to make terrible decisions or treat the characters you are rooting for so terribly. Luckily, one of the most iconic finales makes up for the lulls and the movie ends with a satisfying conclusion.

Overall, Jerry Maguire is a very well-written movie, under-cutting any usual cliché and delivering both a satisfying sports story and a believable romance. The three main stars are on top-form, especially Cruise, who is forced to play a titular character who is as obnoxious as it gets. The film is far too long though, however there is enough to be invested in to keep you watching to the end.

Rating – 3.5

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

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