Program Length: 138 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 1080p
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Chinese (traditional), Chinese (simplified), Indonesian, Dutch, Arabic
“Show me the money” became one of the catch phrases of the 1990s thanks to the success of Jerry Maguire, which is now having its debut in the Blu-ray format. I will not dwell on the content of the feature, since most readers of this review undoubtedly are very familiar with the film. It provided breakout roles for Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Renee Zellweger, and it was the first mega-hit for director Cameron Crowe. Jerry Maguire garnered five Academy Award nominations and Cuba Gooding, Jr. won for Best Supporting Actor.
Tom Cruise stars as the title character, a high-powered professional sports agent who, after expressing concerns about the way his business is conducted, suddenly finds himself without a job and only one client – Rod Tidwell (Gooding), a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League. Jerry needs Rod, but he also needs to be true to himself. Reconciling his new attitude about his work with Rod’s needs is difficult for Jerry, because Rod’s only concern is to be shown the money. Along the way Jerry begins to develop a relationship with Dorothy Boyd (Zellweger), an accountant at the firm from which Jerry is fired. In addition to being rather cute herself, Dorothy has an irresistibly precocious young son, Ray (Jonathan Lipnicki). Others in the cast include Kelly Preston, Bonnie Hunt and Jay Mohr.
Jerry Maguire is a fun movie. My only caveat is its length – two hours would have been more than sufficient to tell the story.
The 1080p Blu-ray widescreen transfer appears to be a significant upgrade over the Special Edition DVD which was released in 2002, but it is not without flaws. Colors are strong and accurate, and flesh tones are nicely rendered. The image appears to be properly framed. A moderate amount of film grain has been retained and the overall look is pleasingly film-like. However, there is some inconsistency in the sharpness of the picture. There are occasions when the image becomes a bit soft and fuzzy, and the overall sense is that this presentation is not as razor-sharp as we are used to seeing in the best Blu-ray transfers. Black levels are somewhat more gray than black, but shadow detail is quite good. It may well be that the anomalies which I observed are inherent in the source material, but I no longer have the standard DVD available to make a direct comparison. Happily, the Blu-Ray release is free of edge enhancement and excessive digital cleansing.
Apart from the few concerns I have about the consistency of the image, watching this Blu-ray disc is a pleasant viewing experience.
The Dolby TrueHD audio is fine, although there is nothing here which will blow you away. This is a dialogue-driven film, and virtually every word is clear and intelligible. There is not a great deal for the surround channels to do, although they are used to good effect in the music soundtrack. The many songs on the soundtrack are presented with excellent dimensionality and provide sufficient ambience to give the sense of an expansive soundstage.
The supplements on this Blu-ray release of Jerry Maguire appear to be identical to those on the Special Edition DVD which was released in 2002. A commentary with the director and the three stars has them reminiscing about their feelings as they were making the film. Zellweger talks about how nervous she was when filming her first scene with Tom Cruise, and Cruise assures her that she nailed it. Zellweger also was quite taken with professionalism of the five-year-old Jonathan Lipnicki, and she confesses that she couldn’t watch the scene of Cruise and Kelly Preston having sex. One oddity about the commentary track is that the film dialogue is mixed so low that I could barely make it out.
Other extras include a few deleted scenes, which can be viewed with or without commentary by the director and editor. There are also three scenes of rehearsals which appear to have been made with a camcorder, and they also can be viewed with commentary. Also included are a a Rod Tidwell television commercial and a “making of” featurette. If you care to read Jerry’s “mission statement,” you can browse through the entirety of it.
A video of real-life sports agent Drew Rosenhaus talking about what it takes to be a sports agent also appears to have been recorded with a camcorder. It is amusing to watch Rosenhaus talk about the ability to use his cell phone to connect his laptop to ESPN while traveling – that was so 20th Century! Finally, Bruce Springsteen fans will enjoy seeing his music video of “Secret Garden.”
The bonus materials are all presented in standard definition, with the exception of a few previews.
Some BD-Live features are promised, but in keeping with Sony’s current practice they will not be accessible until the release date.
The single disc comes in a standard Blu-ray keepcase.
The Final Analysis
Jerry Maguire was one of the biggest hits of the 1990s and remains an enjoyable film to watch. This Blue-ray presentation is not quite as vibrant as many of Sony’s other recent high-def releases, but it is the best-looking version of the film out there and fans will certainly want to pick it up.
Equipment used for this review:
Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-Ray Player
Sharp LC-42D62U LCD display
Yamaha HTR-5890 THX Surround Receiver
BIC Acoustech speakers
Interconnects: Monster Cable
Release Date: September 9, 2008