When sports agent Jerry Maguire (Cruise) writes an uncharacteristically idealistic manifesto suggesting his company should opt for fewer clients and a more caring approach, he's applauded by his colleagues who, as soon as he's fired, desert him - along with all but one of his clients, mouthy footballer Rod Tidwell (Gooding). But then Jerry also has support from single mum Dorothy Boyd (Zellweger), who happens to have fallen for him. Will the prospect of failure allow him to open up to his emotions, instead of just half-hearted affairs, as before? Lauded as a witty moral fable with a revelatory performance from its star, this romantic comedy is in fact meretricious, manipulative and reactionary. Cruise is still limited to three modes of expression: anxious, determined and smugly smiling. Since Maguire never really breaks with the money-oriented definition of success favoured by the agency that fired him, his 'failure' and diatribes against cynicism are meaningless. As for his 'redemption' through the love of a good woman: she's a doting doormat who even apologises for his mistakes, and he's so peremptory about getting what he wants that the film comes over as unthinkingly sexist. Sterling performances, nevertheless, from Zellweger and Gooding.
Cast and crew
Cuba Gooding Jr