Film Scouts Reviews

"Jerry Maguire"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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Tom's Cruise's latest hit has landed on plenty of Top Ten lists, including mine, and it isn't just because of his famous grin. As Jerry Maguire, Tom is a sports agent who develops a conscience and is out of a job. When he leaves the mega-sports management company he takes with him Renee Zellweger as a single mom, an accountant with the cutest kid to hit the screen since Shirley Temple. In fact, Jonathan Lipnicki is not just cute, he is bright and adorable and all those things that grandparents say about their grandkids. He also has a screen presence capable of standing up to Cruise's considerable wattage. His mom, Zellweger, has a big ol' crush on Cruise which sort of short-circuits her decision-making process. Tom/Jerry also has one client (Cuba Gooding Jr.), an arrogant football player. This is the best black male role and role model I have seen in a long time, and some of the credit for that has to go to Mr. Gooding. He has the scrimmage swagger and yet a big tender spot for his wife and extended family. He may have attitude, but his priorities are in line.

"Jerry Maguire" is romance, ethics and football, surely an odd combination but easily the best look at sports in years. It hits home with everyone who ever thought that Deion Sanders got paid too much, that Michael Irvin got off too light, that there is a dearth of integrity in sports today. Director and screenwriter Cameron Crowe deserves a pat on the back if not an Oscar nod for saying what everyone is thinking. He also lets the chemistry between Cruise and Zellweger and between Cruise and Gooding play without having to make Cruise the center of all the action. Not that anyone minds if Cruise flashes the famous grin now and again. Rated R. Tristar.

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