Directed by Cameron Crowe (1996)
by Ben Leonard
Best Boy at Moviejawn
This sports themed edition of Missed It focuses on Jerry Maguire. As a general rule, I have a very balanced opinion of Cameron Crowe. His movies are mildly entertaining and contain enough fluff that they are rarely offensive to anyone. However, the entirety of the cast was enough to put me off of ever wanting to watch it. Granted, Renée Zellweger, Jay Mohr, and Cuba Gooding Jr. have each had a couple good performances in their careers, but none of them lure me into watching a film. Not to mention Donal Logue and Bonnie Hunt. They are something like gods among men, but each barely has three minutes of screen time in this 139 minute film.
The layout of the movie is, honestly, fairly original. It opens with conflict. Jerry is a sports agent that has an epiphany and realizes he hates what he’s become. He writes up a huge moralizing manifesto and distributes it to everyone in his industry. Almost as soon as he completes his mission, he regrets it and the other sports agents do what sports agents do. They smile and congratulate Jerry to his face while they plot his demise using this newly found weakness.
Zellweger plays Dorothy Boyd, a single mom that works in Jerry’s office and has a secret crush on him even though he's engaged to another go-getter sports agent.
However, this original open falls flat as we spend a full two hours resolving the conflicts introduced in the first ten minutes. There are also some technical issues that bother me throughout the film. The camera work during the divorced women’s group meeting made me nauseous and there was a one second shot of Jerry O’Connell’s face around 37:47 where it has a weird reflection right in the middle of his forehead that disappears in the next shot. Why couldn’t they just reshoot that one second? Also, how tall is Jerry supposed to be? Bonnie Hunt must be as tall as a football player because Jerry’s an inch taller than both of them.
Anyhow, back to the content. There’s a couple nods to the poor treatment of black men in the sports industry. The fresh faced white boy (O’Connell’s Cushman) draws far more money and attention than the reliable black player (Cuba’s Tidwell) who’s put in his time. A “fan” even confuses him for “Hootie” (Darius Rucker). Sexual harassment is kind ofaddressed as Jerry drunkenly grabs Dorothy’s boob. (I actually exclaimed “Gross!”) She informs him that it was inappropriate and alludes to there being consequences if it were to happen again.
Around this time I needed to take a pee break. Wait. It’s only halfway through? What the hell else could this movie have to say?
Nothing. We just inch closer and closer to Jerry not being a total piece of shit and being an acceptable mate for Dorothy. They “fall in love” but a second conflict arises as the couple realizes Jerry is more interested in being a father than being a husband (art imitating life perhaps?). The resolution to this issue is much more slapped together and doesn’t really hold water as Jerry just has another epiphany in which he realizes he misses Dorothy. No real changes have occurred.
Now that Jerry’s personal life is finally in order, he can put his career back together. In a final “WTF?” moment, Jerry has gotten Tidwell the deal he was looking for and they decide to inform him on a Sportscenter styled show. Seriously? Athletes don’t need to consider their contracts? They just accept whatever a sports announcer tells him his agent got him?
In the end, this film could have easily stayed missed. It isn’t very effective in telling its story and it just keeps going. All characters that weren’t Jerry just felt like props being propelled around the set. However, the person I truly feel sorry for is Jonathan Lipnicki. He played Dorothy’s son. It seems like the only direction he received was “Go out there and try to be cute.” Look what the experience did to him!