Jerry Maguire Movie Review
Not that Maguire is a bad movie ... it isn't. Nor is it an overwhelmingly fantastic movie, despite what its five Academy Award nominations would have you believe (the film was nominated for Best Picture and Tom Cruise for Best Actor, but only co-star Cuba Gooding Jr. walked away with a statuette). It's just not Crowe's most complete, recognized picture, a distinction that ultimately belongs to Famous. Hence the sigh of relief.
Maguire's problems begin and end with Jerry Maguire (Cruise), himself. A sports agent betrayed by his own kind, Maguire represents the classic tragic hero, one who must be obliterated before he can be saved. Despite their best efforts, Cruise and Crowe have concocted a character who is impossible to relate to, then have him operate in a high-pressure atmosphere of sports management and representation that few of us could imagine, let alone comprehend.
Traces of Crowe's now-trademark style of filmmaking are evident here, making Maguire a sort of launching pad for what we hope are better things to come. Pop culture references abound - often in the form of pro sport cameos - and Crowe's wife, Nancy Wilson, has fashioned a memorable (though not overbearing) soundtrack. Cruise and love interest Renee Zellweger display tangible chemistry, even as you scratch your head and wonder why this sweet, beautiful girl would fall for this cad. Yes, I realize he looks like Tom Cruise...
There's no denying Crowe's ability to pen remarkable dialogue. Before they became cringe-inducing catchphrases, lines like "Show me the money" and "You had me at hello" conjured up the proper amounts of giggles and tears. Taken in the context of Maguire's scenes, they worked very well. When looped over a cut of Bruce Springsteen's monotone "Secret Garden," they lose any and all sentiment. How about that? The pop culture Crowe embraces rears its ugly, repetitive head and steals some joy away from his end result.
Crowe and company return to form on the 2-disc DVD from Columbia TriStar. The highlight, for sure, is a feature-length commentary track (audio and video) conducted by Crowe, Cruise, Zellweger and Gooding Jr., in which the actors simultaneously fawn over each other and the director who made their collaboration possible. If you believe what they're selling, Jerry Maguire is the greatest film of all time. Still, it's fun to watch them interact, and to see how bizarre Cruise can be when he lets his guard down.
The remainder of the DVD set is packed with deleted scenes, rehearsal footage, "Making Of" featurettes, a Springsteen video for "Garden," a fake Rod Tidwell commercial, the short "How to be a Sports Agent" video with real-life agent Drew Rosenhaus, a photo album and the complete text of Maguire's infamous "Mission Statement," which started all of these shenanigans in the first place.
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