Today’s Prayer Focus

Jerry Maguire

Reviewed by: Cheryl Sneeringer

Moral Rating: Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults Only
Genre: Drama
Length: 135 min.
Year of Release: 1996
USA Release:
Featuring Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renée Zellweger, Kelly Preston, Jay Mohr, Jerry O'Connell, Bonnie Hunt, Regina King, Jonathan Lipnicki, Mark Pellington
Director Cameron Crowe

“Jerry Maguire” could potentially have been an excellent film. It has all the elements we love to see in a movie—great acting, admirable characters, exciting sports scenes, poignant drama, an incredibly cute kid, and a tender love story. Unfortunately, the writers chose to include dozens of uses of the F-word (and other foul language), lots of male nudity (the locker room variety, photographed from the rear), and a particularly disgusting sex scene. It has so much that is offensive to Christians that I cannot recommend it, even for adults. However, when the movie comes to network TV, with the sex scenes eliminated and the milder language dubbed in, it will be well worth viewing.

Tom Cruise is outstanding as a slick, fast-talking sports agent who has built a very large, very successful agency, but realizes that he and his firm have lost sight of the welfare of their athletes. Conscience-stricken, he writes a 25-page mission statement, calling on his firm to focus on people rather than profits—to handle fewer athletes, and to give each of them more attention.

Although his colleagues applaud and seemingly affirm his noble ideals, he is fired within a few days. He leaves the firm, taking with him the only employee who would stand by him, a struggling young single mother named Dorothy, who has admired him from afar. His clients all desert him, all but one—an aging, arrogant, complaining football player who long ago slipped from star status.

The beauty of this movie is that it affirms noble choices. We admire Jerry Maguire for his efforts to rise above selfishness and to uphold his clients' best interests. Dorothy is attracted to him not because he is irresistibly handsome, nor because he is wealthy and powerful, but because he has chosen to be good. She says to her sister, “I love him for the man he wants to be, and for the man he “almost” is.” She holds him to the high standards he would like to attain.

The character development in this movie is seamless and very believable. Influenced by Dorothy’s virtue, Jerry grows into a man of character and heart. He, in turn, deepens his relationship with his client, and is able to influence his client’s growth as an athlete and as a team player.

The love story between Jerry and Dorothy is tender and sweet. Regrettably, the writers chose to include premarital sex (on the first date, yet), but it is refreshing that the love relationship is not grounded in sexual passion, but in the nobler virtues of admiration, loyalty, and responsibility. Dorothy’s young son, Ray, played by five-year-old Jonathan Lipnicki, is an adorable scene-stealer. In one of the great lines of the movie, single mom Dorothy says to her divorced sister, “I’m not trying to get a man; I’m trying to raise a man.” That is a keeper.

This movie could have been made without the immorality, without the nudity, and without the foul language—nothing would have been lost—and it would have been uplifting and as memorable as “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It is sad to see a movie with such potential so polluted and defiled. What a shame. Frank Capra, we miss you!

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
I think that it is important to note in defense of the film that the foul language occurs early… and terminates as Jerry, in a drunken stupor, is corrected by the child. I don’t remember hearing much if any after that. One of the things that Jerry reforms is his language. The reviewer should also have noted that the disgusting sex scene is portrayed as disgusting and meaningless, a part of the empty lifestlye he begins to leave behind. No, I don’t enjoy hearing foul language or sitting through disgusting sex scenes. And yes, the filmmaker could have made his point with less graphic use of both. But remember, we are seeing someone reform in a wonderful way, and that is something to rejoice over. Let’s not discourage the first steps in the right direction because we are uncomfortable with where people are starting from.
Joe Costantino, age 41
Well, despite a rather good story line… this movie’s R-rating for profanity and sexual content make it a film I wouldn’t recommend. …There was excessive profanity, which is offensive…
P. Sorrells
Overall, I really enjoyed Jerry Maguire. I love Romantic Comedies. As a Christian, I do disapprove of the foul language and nudity/immoral relationships. (But) unless you watch a children’s movie, you can’t really avoid everything you disapprove of altogether. I thought it was funny and romantic. I definitely think it is for a more mature audience. Of course, if I had my druthers, there would be no sex before marriage, the couple would be devout Christians, and they would not cuss, but… On a 5-star rating, I give it 4.
Jonathan Blanks, age 21
The acting was excellent. The plot took a while to sink in, but was a GREAT idea, very original. BUT I can’t say I LOVED it. You are right, the sex scene was raunchy and the prinicples displayed were foul. We shouldn’t be impressed by this sort of blunt sin. Sorry, I loved the idea and plot… FROWN on the execution.
Matt, age 22
One of my top five movies ever. If you combined the cutest kids of all time from all the movies ever made, you wouldn’t find a kid as cute as the one that starred in Jerry Maguire. It was Great!
David Bradford, age 46
While the movie does contain offensive things, I found by the end of the movie I was encouraged and uplifted. It is strange to see Hollywood show compassion for people who struggle with convictions, self-improvement, compassion for mankind and true love. It made me think about the “important” things in life like family and true friends. A rare treat from Hollywood.
Mark Swanson, age 30
…I would like to respond to Mr. Padovani’s comment to “reality”; the reality, sir, is that we are instructed in Philippians 4:8 to think about things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. My pastor once said that what sin basically is is compromise. I believe that is what we are doing when we try to justify the “worthiness” of these types of movies. It’s not about being “prudish”, or a “goody two-shoes,” it’s about exercising the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Would you invite Him to go see these movies with you? Would your arguments for the “worthiness” of these movies stand a chance then?…
Sierra, age 33
I would like to agree with the reviewer on the amount of immorality and vulgarity in this movie as being excessive. I do not, however, agree that this movie would be good to see, on TV or otherwise. I went, expecting to enjoy a good Tom Cruise romance and was instead bored by a shabby attempt to portray some sort of attraction and a very great effort to show every facet of the life of a sports agent. If I had been watching a documentary on the subject I would not have minded quite so much… This was the only Tom Cruise movie that I have ever wanted to walk out on, but I stuck it out hoping it would get better (which it didn't)…
Layne Mattox, age 18
I think that far too often Christians like to show how righteous they are by condemning people for every sin they commit. …this was a good movie aside from a few uncomfortable scenes. I wouldn’t recommend you have your kids see it because it is a film about adult themes. I wouldn’t recommend your kids see 90% of television programming. If you can see past the bad and focus on the good you just might catch a pretty neat message and an entertaining story of human beings.
Michael Colburn, age 26
I haven’t seen this movie. Thanks for saving me the trouble! As a Christian, I am thankful for the ratings system. “R” rated movies are a risk that I am no longer willing to take, unless I have a recommendation from someone I respect. Thanks!
Jennifer Smith, age 26
Well, I am amazed at the varied responses here! My opinion is this: BORING! I could not believe how boring this movie was! The raunchy sex scene only added to its demise. I have to say it: “Show me the plot”!? I was very disappointed. I am in shock that any awards are affiliated with this one…
Karen, age 33
Blah… The attempt at a coherent plot was lost about the second time he’s found in bed with ANOTHER woman. I walked out of the movie not feeling sorry for anyone except the little kid, and my friends who went along. To all the Tom Cruise fans out there: save your money. Wait for it to be out on TV.
Justin VanNingen, age 19
We normally stay away from R-rated movies, and wished we had stayed away from Maguire also. The unnecessary and unrealistic sex, and the bad language, …overwhelm any good the movie has.
Storhaug, age 52
I think “Christian Spotlight on the Movies” was right on with this review!!
L. Ansell, age 35