Jerry Maguire (1996)

It's a talented filmmaker who can turn off the Cruise control, but 
writer/director Cameron Crowe (SAY ANYTHING, SINGLES) does just 
that in this funny and refreshingly frank romantic comedy.  In one 
of the better roles of his career, Tom Cruise plays Jerry Maguire, 
a high-powered sports agent who has a change of heart, gets fired, 
and is forced to practice what he now preaches as his own employee.  
(One night, after spontaneously developing a conscience, Jerry 
drafts a 27-page Mission Statement on the subject of integrity.  
His employer thinks his Mission impossible and, one week later, 
Jerry Maguire is toast.)  He leaves the agency with an accountant, 
a young, single mother (the charming, but rather one-dimensional 
Renee Zellweger) who is so inspired by Jerry's principles that she 
walks out the door with him.  Together, they set up shop and begin-
ning directing their energies on a couple remaining clients, while, 
of course, falling in love.  Or so we think.

One of the strengths of Cameron Crowe's writing is that his script 
is populated with real, believable people in real, believable 
relationships.  Thus, and like life itself, the story takes several 
unusual and unexpected turns, one of which explores the reality of 
what happens when a lonely guy meets a desperate girl.  Not exactly 
your standard formula for romance and that makes JERRY MAGUIRE all 
the more rewarding.  Sure, there are other reasons to appreciate 
this movie:  Crowe's offbeat direction, a hilarious morning-after 
sequence that's one of many big laughs, Bonnie Hunt as the cynical 
older sister/divorcee, Cruise's chemistry with child actor Jonathan 
Lipnicki, screen sex that's actually sexy, and a scene-stealing 
Cuba Gooding, Jr. (OUTBREAK, BOYZ N THE HOOD) as the sassy, second-
tier football player who helps Jerry get back in the game.  Go see 
it. (Rated "R"/135 min.)

Grade: B+
Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: December 15, 1996.

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