Top positive review
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Much more than just another romantic comedy
on August 1, 2005
Well, I'm incredibly late to the Jerry Maguire party, but I'm glad I finally made it. I thought this was just a comedy, but I should have known better because laughs alone usually don't generate the kind of success this movie enjoyed. This is a wonderful, feel-good movie with a surprisingly effective emotional payoff. Tom Cruise is great, Cuba Gooding, Jr., steals every scene he's in, and that Renee Zellweger is nothing short of perfect. They even threw in a clip of McGarrett on Hawaii Five-O and sent me away with Bob Dylan singing over the credits - in my book, that's going above and beyond the call of duty. And I never tire of seeing someone break away from the cynicism of big business and actually put some heart back into an increasingly heartless way of life.
Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is, of course, a bigshot sports agent who has it all - then loses it all. For some inexplicable reason, he develops a conscience late one night, puts together this huge "mission statement" all about reducing the number of clients and giving those remaining the genuine personal touch, and sends it to everyone in the company. With a schlep of a boss like Bob Sugar (the always annoying Jay Mohr), his days with the company are, not surprisingly, numbered. He vows to start his own company, desperately trying to hold on to the clients he has been representing - but all he ends up taking with him are outrageous Cardinals wide receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) and Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger), an accountant who was truly inspired by what he had written. It doesn't seem like much, but he really has all he will ever need - he just doesn't realize it until the end of the movie.
Life on his own is quite a struggle, especially after he breaks up with his vicious fiancée (Kelly Preston), and I know it must be truly demoralizing to be defeated time and time again by Jay Mohr. Rod Tidwell, a great player who doesn't get the notice (or money) he thinks he deserves, stays loyal to him, though, for rather inexplicable reasons - even after Maguire fails to get him the kind of big money he is looking for in a new contract. Dorothy also stays with him, and Maguire grows increasingly close to her and her little boy Ray (Jonathan Lipnicki). There's love in the air, and Maguire's famous problem with emotional intimacy makes what should be the simplest thing in the world immensely complicated. We see a lot of Maguire at his worst - double-crossed, drunk, beaten up, wallowing in self-pity. He never gives up, though, and that's what's important. I find it a little problematic that he did not apply the principles of his "mission statement" to the way he lived his life, but - in his defense - guys tend to be pretty dense about this kind of thing (and would that we all had a Dorothy to help us see the light).
There's a wonderful cast on display here, with uncommonly meaningful secondary characters: there's little Ray, of course, but Dorothy's bitter yet loving sister Laurel (Bonnie Hunt) and Rod Tidwell's wife Marcee (Regina King) really do lay claim to a commanding presence in the story. You can also make a little game of spotting all of the sports personalities that make cameos (usually silent ones, thankfully) in the film.
This isn't a comedy; it's a serious story that just happens to feature a lot of laughs. It's a commentary on the depersonalization of business, a complicated yet wonderfully sweet love story, and a movie with a surprisingly big heart. And I love Renee Zellweger. As far as I'm concerned, she - not Tom Cruise - was the star of this film.