Jerry Maguire (1996) Review/Rant


Plot, from IMDB: When a sports agent has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it, he decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent with the only athlete who stays with him.

You know how every decade has beloved movies; movies that become time-tested, endearing classics that people fall in love with and eventually become part of the pop-culture lexicon? Movies like The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, and The Godfather. That’s all fair and good, but what if you watch one of these so called “beloved” popular movies and are really, really disappointed with it? Disappointing, my sentiment exactly about Jerry Maguire.

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Now, Jerry Maguire wasn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen, far from it, but to me it was extremely disappointing considering how well it was built-up by audience hype. And since I haven’t really reviewed movies that I don’t care for much I am going to take a different approach to this review; I’m going to spend a few paragraphs explaining what I didn’t like about it first, and then i’m going to spend a few paragraphs explaining the things I did like about it.


My biggest, most glaring problem with this movie was its screenplay, written entirely by director Cameron Crowe. To put it bluntly at first, it was a really bland, lackluster screenplay – which was upsetting for two reasons; One, I really enjoy Crowe’s writing, he’s one of my favorite screenwriters. I rank his film “Almost Famous” as one of the greatest movies of all time. And the second reason it was upsetting is because the story was really interesting. Here this movie attempts to take a deep look on the inside politics and workings of the NFL and the people involved, and manages to be not only dull for the most part but also sort of charmless. A majority of the main characters, most especially Bob Sugar, were extraordinarly self-centered schmucks and were also as one-dimensional as an Atari 2600’s video game graphics. The dialogue also, for the most part, was really stiff and kind of awkward to listen to; the jokes almost always fell flat, I don’t even think I laughed five times in the entirety of the movie and it is supposed to be a quote-unquote comedy. Another major problem is this movie dragged on forever, Crowe and his editors could’ve easily cut 20 minutes out of this movie and still would’ve been able to tell the story the exact same way. Though I highly doubt it would’ve mattered much, pretty much for the entirety of this movie I sat there with a blank expression on my face and not feeling any emotion at all, for the most part, waiting desperately for the movie the end. My final major problem with this movie is I never at all connected with any of the characters. Jerry Maguire was way too cocky, Rod Tidwell was way too arrogant and too much of a show-off, Bob Sugar was a self-centered asshole I’d love to punch in the face, and Dorothy Boyd was a doormat who hardly ever stood up for herself. The characters never at any point in the movie felt like real people, but more on the lines of some unimaginative person’s annoying alter ego.


Now, if you’ve never read my reviews before and don’t know how I go about my process of ranting throughout you’d probably think I hated every little scrap of this movie with a passion. I didn’t, not by a longshot, but it helps me be able to be more even-tempered with my reviews and keep things flowing better if I didn’t care for the movie a great deal and was able to get the rant off my chest first and foremost. The best thing about this movie was the various chemistries going on between its cast of characters. While I found the character’s personalities to be phony and their actions throughout to be unrealistic, the romantic chemistry between Maguire and Boyd, the father-son relationship between Maguire and Boyd’s young son Ray, and the growing friendship between Maguire and Tidwell was tangible and made this movie better than it would’ve been without it. Frankly, if this movie lacked any amount of the chemistry it had between the characters I would’ve turned it off after 20 minutes, however the wonderful performances also helped keep this film afloat. Tom Cruise was his usual charming self and gave a terrific performance as the titular character, and Cuba Gooding Jr as well gave a marvelous performance as Rod Tidwell. Although, I firmly believe he didn’t deserve to win the Oscar that year, his performance was still phenominal. But who really stole the show and made the movie almost worth while was Jonathan Lipnicki’s wondrous performance as Dorothy’s young son Ray. The moments with his character, especially between him and Jerry where Ray is spouting off random facts and tidbits back and forth with him, are the only singular moments in this movie that actually made me smile and made me feel any sort of emotion.


In conclusion, I honestly don’t get what made critics and audiences go mad for “Jerry Maguire”; I found it to be overlong, tedious, and obnoxious throughout the entire film, which is always disappointing when its coming from one of your favorite filmmakers. It’s certainly far from the worst film I’ve ever seen, thanks to the discernibly marvelous chemistry between the actors and their excellent performances, but it was also very far from being a great movie, in my opinion. I’m not sure how it took Cameron Crowe three and a half years to write this movie, but it’s clear to me it wasn’t spent on developing three dimensional believable characters.

My Rating: an unfortunate 5/10

Thanks for Reading!


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