Sunday, February 24, 2013
Jerry Maguire. B
Jerry Maguire is like a modern-day Frank Capra movie, sentimental in the best sense, funny, and very, very busy. And I do wonder if writer-director Cameron Crowe is inspired by Capra in his storytelling methods (and this isn't the only Crowe film that would make one suspect it), because watching it I kept on getting strange-and welcome-echoes of It's a Wonderful Life. Obviously the stories aren't related, but the ideas definitely seem to be. Tom Cruise is playing a sports agent who has the same kind of ambition yet also the moral sense that George Bailey has in Life. Both characters are men who see the dangers in too much money. They have a natural inclination towards pursuing the big, yet they also have scruples when it comes to dehumanization of any type of big business. Also of note is that Cruise is a family man (or at least one in the making) in this just like Bailey, and both characters go through a moment of crisis near the end that concludes with an epiphany and the rediscovery of love and home. I compare these two films not at all to criticize Jerry Maguire but actually to applaud it. The movie embraces old fashioned values, and while it's never quite as intelligent as it could have been, its heart is in the right place.