Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) is a sports agent who is long on ambition but short on scruples. After he suddenly and ceremoniously loses his job and his girlfriend (Kelly Preston), both his personal and professional careers hit an all-time low. But when a single mother (Renee Zellweger) enters his life and his heart, he finds himself negotiating the biggest deal of his life... for the heart and the hand of the woman that he loves.
In 1996, a little star-studded rom-com called 'Jerry Maguire' did the impossible: it became one of the go-to date flicks of the '90s, racked up an impressive box office tally, managed to enchant Academy Award voters and gave Cuba Gooding Jr. an excuse to deliver one of the most memorable, exuberant acceptance speeches in Oscar history. I don't want to overstate its cinematic significance, but 'Jerry Maguire' has weathered the years exceptionally well. More than 20 years later, its quotable catch phrases are still popping up everywhere (defining the Joker's perception of Batman in 'The Dark Knight,' no less), it remains one of Tom Cruise's most well-known films and continues to win over many young filmfans just now catching it for the first time.
Successful sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) has it all -- a cozy job and a nice salary at Sports Management International, a lengthy list of famous clients and an ideal relationship with a strong, self-sufficient woman named Avery (Kelly Preston). However, when a moral epiphany inspires him to write and distribute an inner-office manifesto called "The Things We Think and Do Not Say," Jerry is fired by a ruthless colleague (Jay Mohr), accompanied out the door by an idealist named Dorothy (Renee Zellweger) and left with a single client: a cocky football player named Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr). As Jerry begins to develop a genuine affection for Dorothy and her young son (Jonathan Lipnicki), he struggles to start a new agency and help Rod get a new NFL contract.
How writer/director Cameron Crowe ('Almost Famous' and 'Vanilla Sky') managed to craft both a beloved romantic dramedy for women and a side-splitting introspective comedy for men is beyond me, but he certainly pulled it off. For much of the movie, Jerry is a self-serving character whose bouts of humanity conflict with his underlying ego and greed. Likewise, Rod is a pompous egomaniac who relies on a boisterous personality to mask his insecurities and fears. Completing the picture is Dorothy, a whirlwind of emotions who follows a man on a whim and then flounders as she tries to navigate three simultaneous roles: mother, employee and lover. All three characters are incredibly complex, are full of constant surprises and never really fit into the Romantic Comedy mold. While the film does have its share of clichéd developments, it handles each one quite well and pairs them with hilarious scenarios and witty, revealing dialogue. Crowe has always had a gift for bringing his scripts to life and 'Jerry Maguire' is one of his best -- the writer/director makes it easy to root for, connect to and fall in love with his characters.
If I have any problem with 'Jerry Maguire' it's that I'm always plagued with doubt after the credits role. Jerry's final, third-act maturation is believable, but happens so abruptly (and so immediately after hitting bottom) that it doesn't seem like it would necessarily be a long-lasting development. Perhaps Cruise nails Jerry's less-than-desirable traits so thoroughly that it's difficult to buy into his ultimate transformation. Maybe Dorothy's such a sympathetic character that I continue to hope she's not about to be a victim of further selfish behavior. Or it could be the fact that Rod is the only character in the film who undergoes an authentic and impactful arc. Regardless of the cause, I rarely finish the film with the same warm-fuzzies that I feel during its best scenes.
Regardless, 'Jerry Maguire' is what a romantic comedy should be -- a film that appeals to both men and women, offers clever wit and hearty laughs, and, for better or worse, addresses the true nature of human relationships. It's one of the few films my wife and I both count as personal favorites, and one we find ourselves watching together again and again. I can't say it's the best genre pic I've seen, but I can say everyone should give it a chance.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
21-year-old 'Jerry Maguire' has been given a 20th Anniversary Edition. This double-dip release is rather quiet and a little confusing. Promotional materials mark this as a Best Buy exclusive, yet it appears to be available with every major Blu-ray vendor. If an edition really is exclusive to Best Buy, it's not apparent as to what makes it special.
This edition features a new 4K remaster on a BD-50 disc, new artwork, a booklet that contains Jerry Maguire's mission statement and the original motion picture soundtrack CD. Both discs, the booklet and a Digital Copy code are housed in a two-disc eco-lite Vortex keepcase. First editions will come with an embossed slipcover. When you pop the disc into your player, following a skippable Sony Home Entertainment reel, you'll be taken directly to the static main menu that features Nancy Wilson's great score.
There are two things that I find surprising about this new remaster of 'Jerry Maguire.' First, if it was remastered in 4K, then why didn't Sony drop a UHD version at the same time? Second, if it was remastered in 4K, they why doesn't it look worlds better than the original Blu-ray release? Don't get me wrong – the 20th Anniversary Edition is quite a step up, but it's still not amazing.
This new transfer arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode and 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The contrast, black level and colorization issues from the original release are resolved here; however, the general inconsistency of quality is still there. Our review of the first Blu-ray review explained that "for every scene that marked a substantial improvement over the DVD, a subsequent shot would drift soft or look less refined than other high-scoring catalog releases." The same issue occurs with this edition, only with less frequency. Many shots feature wonderful detail and fantastic clarity, but some are followed by blurry or noisy shots that's simply look bad. Fortunately, more often then not, it looks good.
The original review also states that in the first Blu-ray "textures and fine details have received a welcome boost due to the presentation's increased resolution, but the image doesn't have the three-dimensional pop that allows the viewer to immerse themselves in the experience." Fortunately, that aspect of the transfer has made a full 180-degree turn. There's depth to the image. No scratches, debris or specks appear. It's jutter-free. You won't see bands or aliasing. With nice dusting of celluloid grain, the quality of 'Jerry Maguire' is once again cinematic.
Although the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio of the film's original release has been swapped out for a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, I'm fairly certain that it's the same audio track, just with a different encode. If you remember how well the TrueHD track played, that's certainly not a bad thing.
Underwhelming and limited as its original sound design may be, the audio is a solid catalog effort that should please fans of the film. Dialog is crisp and well prioritized, pans are transparent and interior acoustics are convincing. Ambience is a bit haphazard and inconsistent during quieter moment, but several scenes in the third act deliver the goods. In these brief instances, the LFE channel adds decent weight to the soundscape, the rear speakers are tasked with more aggressive work, and the track's dynamics are enhanced throughout the soundfield.
Crowe loves to use music in his films, all of which play out beautifully in this mix – especially Bruce Springsteen's "Secret Garden." Still, it doesn't change the fact that 'Jerry Maguire' is a conversational comedy and will never pack the punch of a modern actioner. Its fans will just have to enjoy a competent and proficient lossless mix that does a good job handling relatively little.
All of the special features from the film's original DVD and Blu-ray release are included here, along with several new features that are excluse to the 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray.
When asked if 'Jerry Maguire' is worth owning, I always say "yes." Treading the fine line between romantic comedy and sports drama, it offers a little something for everything. When asked if this new edition is worth the double-dip on Blu-ray, I have two answers: for Cameron Crowe afficionados like myself, it's absolutely worth it. For casual fans who already own it, probably not. The newly restored 4K transfer is void of flaws, but it's not always as sharp as you'd hope for. The audio mix appears to be the same as the last version's, only in a DTS-HD Master Audio format. And while it's great having a slew of new special features (along with the old ones), only one of them is truly great. Most solely appeal to the die-hard Crowe fans. Either way, if you don't own 'Jerry Maguire' on Blu-ray, now's the time to pick it up.
Portions of this review also appear in our coverage of Dunkirk on Blu-ray. This post features unique Vital Disc Stats, Video, and Final Thoughts sections.