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JERRY MAGUIRE
Special Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Tom Cruise, Renee Zellweger, Cuba Gooding Jr., Regina King, Jonathan Lipnicki, Bonnie Hunt, Kelly Preston, Jay Mohr
Director:  Cameron Crowe
Audio:  Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Studio:  Columbia Tri Star
Features:  See Review
Length:  139 Minutes
Release Date:  April 30, 2002

“Show me the money!” – Rod Tidwell

“And that line has haunted me ever since.” – Cuba Gooding Jr.

Film ****

Some people called Jerry Maguire a comedy, others a sports movie.  Some said it was a buddy story, some said it was a romance.  I’ve always described it as one of the most beautifully optimistic films I’ve ever seen.  And you know what?  We’re all right.

I, too, laugh at the humor, get caught up in the love story, and feel for the characters every step of the way.  But for me, what makes Jerry Maguire one of the best films of the 90s is its unerring message of faith.  Here is a guy who loses almost everything by making a stand for what he believes in, and has to start again from square one in order to see whether or not his convictions are worth anything.  It becomes a romance because of a woman who sees in him the man he wants to be…and risks her future because she believes he can be it.

Jerry (Cruise) is a sports agent at the top of his game.  He makes his money wheeling and dealing rich juicy contracts for his athletes, both in their sports and with endorsements and other opportunities.  He works for one of the biggest companies representing sports stars anywhere, and he was a guy who helped make it what it is.

But the story doesn’t start with a man clawing his way to the top of his position.  It starts with a man at the top, who looks around and knows that somewhere along the way, things have gone very awry.  He is going through a turning point, and the exclamation point for it comes in the form of a hockey player’s son, who, in a hospital hallway, tells Jerry like it is in two succinct words.

In a moment of catharsis, Jerry has a moral epiphany, writes a mission statement and submits it to everyone in his company.  In a moment of clarity that comes too late, however, he realizes that his “fewer clients, less money” philosophy might end very badly for him.  He’s right…he’s fired shortly thereafter.

In a fast past series of humiliation, Jerry finds himself stripped of all but one of his clients, the brash, no-nonsense Rod Tidwell (Gooding), a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals who has maybe one last chance to land the contract that will take care of him and his family for life.  Jerry walks the walk of shame out of the office, but is joined by Dorothy Boyd (Zellweger), who has her own moment of clarity.  She read Jerry’s mission statement, and believes enough in him to walk toward the uncertain sunset with him.

From that point on, it’s three people united by an uncertain, yet resolved faith.  Rod begins to play out the last season of his contract, risking the hope of his future against not getting injured.  Dorothy begins to fall in love with Jerry.  Jerry enters into a relationship with Dorothy that could be a perfect loving one, if he weren’t still so unsure of himself.

Like life, their story is fraught with possibilities and disappointments, love and heartbreak…and like life, it’s a journey well spent.  Cameron Crowe is that rare kind of writer/director that can make hope seem real instead of hokey, and who’s willing to put it through the ringers in order to see it come out better on the other side.

This is an amazing cast, too…three terrific central performances.  Tom Cruise delivered the performance of his career and garnered his second Oscar nomination as Jerry.  He’s completely unafraid to slowly strip away the swagger we associate with Cruise and replace it with hesitance and vulnerability…he earns every moral victory for his character.  Renee Zellweger, who got robbed of a nomination, showed the world that she was a talent to be reckoned with.  Her star has been rising ever since, but I’ll probably always think of her warm, loving portrayal of Dorothy when I think of her.  And, of course, Cuba Gooding Jr., who rocked the film playing Rod and then rocked the world with his Oscar acceptance…he teased the audience at first by making it seem that his character was going to be little more than a stereotypical athlete, but won filmgoers over by investing an amazing amount of heart into Rod.  His victory became our victory…and Cuba’s victory on Oscar night became our victory, too.

Two more cast members deserve recognition:  the amazing Regina King, who played every sports agent’s worst nightmare, the devoted player’s wife…and brought as much heart to her role as Cuba did to his, and young Jonathan Lipnicki, perhaps the only male who could have stolen the female audience’s attention away from Tom Cruise.

But give Cameron Crowe all the credit for bringing everything together into an amazing story about love, courage and redemption.  Many filmmakers would have been content to tell the story of a hungry, slick agent who suddenly finds his heart, but Crowe tells the story of a hungry, slick agent who suddenly finds his heart and then dares to ask, “what happens next?”

Jerry Maguire is a movie I love with all my heart and soul.  I never get tired of watching it or of sharing a couple of hours with some terrific characters who found it in themselves to be extraordinary.

Video **1/2

“I’m not trying to make history here.”

The original DVD version of Jerry Maguire was none too special in the video department, and unfortunately, this transfer appears to be no different from the first one.  It’s still an anamorphic widescreen offering from Columbia Tri Star, and it’s far, far from unwatchable, but it remains a far cry from the quality the studio is known for.  Colors are generally good throughout, but images appear a bit soft from time to time, with medium level definition (especially background images) and a bit of noticeable grain that gets a little more pronounced in lower lit scenes.  Stationary objects far away from the camera sometimes look slightly hazy, and objects that are deep black tend to wash out and lose all texture.  None of these are so explicit as to detract from the enjoyment of the movie…but they are worth mentioning nonetheless.

Audio ***1/2

“I was inspired.  And I’m an accountant.”

The 5.1 audio mix seems the same as before, too, but that’s no problem.  This is a lively, dynamic mix that offers crisp, clean dialogue, terrific music, and plenty of open stage sounds during crowd scenes, football games, and so on.  The .1 channel accents the songs and the action.  The mix is very good, well balanced, and keeps you in the heart of the story…high marks.

Features ****

“This is gonna change everything.”

SHOW US THE SPECIAL EDITION!!  Columbia Tri Star knocks one out of the park with this terrific double disc offering.  The true highlight is a group commentary with Cameron Crowe, Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Renee Zellweger, but there are TWO ways to enjoy it.  Pop on Disc One, and you can hear them.  Slip in Disc Two, and you can watch them!  The second disc features the video version of the commentary, with the full length movie presented in a small correctly proportioned box at the bottom of the screen.  I can’t say that it’s one of the most informative Cameron Crowe commentaries I’ve ever heard, but it is one of the most fun.  It’s clear these four stars have remained friends since making this movie, and they seem to have a blast watching the film together…it’s almost like sitting in on a cast party!  I personally enjoyed how the guys kept trying to get Renee to do a little Bridget Jones for them.  Funny stuff!

Disc Two has plenty more, too…there are deleted scenes and three rehearsal reels with option commentary by Crowe and his film editor.  Included in the rehearsals is the evolution of the “show me the money” scene…priceless!  Also included is the famous but rarely seen Rod Tidwell Reebok commercial, trailers for this film and As Good as it Gets, a photo gallery, Bruce Springsteen’s video for “Secret Garden” (love that song), a making-of-featurette, filmographies, the full text of Jerry Maguire’s mission statement, and a short “how to be a sports agent” featurette with Drew Rosenhaus.  An excellent package!

Summary:

Columbia Tri Star shows us the money this time around with this double disc special edition of Jerry Maguire.  If you love this movie, the features on this disc make it more than worthwhile to retire your old copy and snatch this one up with both hands.