Tom Cruise can act. Who knew? He's given passable
performances in a lot of movies, but in JERRY MAGUIRE, for the
first time, you don't consciously think of him as Tom Cruise during
every scene. He actually becomes the character, a new concept for
a Cruise film... Okay, so I'm exaggerating a bit. Cruise was great in
RAINMAN back in '87, but in the almost ten years since, he hasn't
shown us a whole lot in the way of talent, unless running down a
street with briefcase in hand or yelling "DID YOU ORDER THAT
CODE RED?!!!" at top volume is true talent.
A lot of Cruise's performance comes courtesy of writer and
director Cameron Crowe (SAY ANYTHING), who himself has said
he tried to completely remold Cruise for the role of Jerry Maguire.
It helped immensely that his script made Maguire and everyone else
complex and likeable characters for the audience to care about.
Under Crowe's direction, the rest of the cast holds their own with
Cruise, especially relative-unknown Renee Zellweger as Maguire's
assistant and eventual love interest.
Cruise, as Jerry Maguire, is a hot-shot sports agent who
lives a superficial life of money and inside connections until he
reaches an epiphany one night and labors away at his laptop,
churning out page after page of drivel for the masses, as I'm doing
right now, only Maguire is drunk at the time and sticks a lot of hasty
words in this "mission statement" that he later regrets writing.
Among other things, he calls for the agency to which he belongs
to spend more time with clients and make more personal sacrifices.
He makes copies for every employee of the agency and,
within a week, is fired by his former prot g (Jay Mohr of "SNL"
fame). Making a big speech upon his exit from the company, he
calls for anyone with integrity to come with him and begin anew.
The lone respondant to this request is Zellweger, a single parent
risking everything because she believes in Cruise's integrity. That
Cruise has the nicest ass in America probably has something to do
with that decision.
Mohr convinces every client Cruise has to drop Cruise and
side with the organization that fired him -- every client but one, that
is, a receiver with the Phoenix Cardinals. Played by Cuba Gooding
Jr., this guy is obnoxious, flamboyant and greedy. I was wondering
where the red hair, nose-rings, tattoos and appearances on "The
RuPaul Show" were; that's how close Gooding's character is to
Dennis Rodman. A big difference, though, is that Gooding is
sensible, likeable and devoted to his wife (Regina "227" King) and
children, as well as his longtime agent, Maguire. That Cruise has
the nicest ass in America probably has something to do with that
Maguire's life is in the locker room crapper throughout
most of JERRY MAGUIRE, as he loses his job, his clients and his
fianc e (Kelly Preston, in her first movie this presidential
administration), and has to decide whether or not he's really in love
with Zellweger. Hell, after seeing this movie, everyone in Hollywood
should be in love with Zellweger, whose down-to-earth appearance
and acting ability will probably earn her several more big movie
JERRY MAGUIRE is definitely not short on talent. Cruise,
Zellweger and Gooding are the movie's brightest stars, but the
smaller roles from King, Mohr, Bonnie Hunt (as Zellweger's
protective older sister) and, yes, even Preston contribute a lot to
the film as well. It's Crowe's own genius that lend the most to
JERRY MAGUIRE. It's rare these days to find a mainstream, big-
budget movie with a brain and a heart, but this one's got that and a
warm sense of humor with which the laughs don't stem from bodily
functions or vulgarities but sentimentality. I loved this movie and
I'll probably see it again. That Cruise has the nicest ass in America
probably has something to do with that decision... Sorry, I had to
say that one last time.
Copyright © 1997 Andrew Hicks