On June 17, the biographical comedy drama “Jerry and Marge Play Big” from director David Frankel (“The Devil Wears Prada”, “Marley and I”) was released on the Paramount+ service. Starring “Hardcore” star Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening (“American Beauty,” “Death on the Nile”), as well as Rainn Wilson (“The Office”). The script was written by Brad Copeland, the author of “Camouflage and Espionage” and “The Real Boars”. In the material below, you will find out whether the new tape is worth your attention.
“Jerry and Marge Go Large” / Jerry and Marge Go Large
Genre biography, drama, comedy
Directed by David Frankel
Starring: Bryan Cranston, Annette Bening, Michael McKean, Rainn Wilson, Anna Camp, Jake McDorman
A Paramount+ release
Release year 2022
The film “Jerry and Marge Play Big” is based on real events that happened to a couple of American retirees from Michigan in the early 2000s. So, Jerry (Bryan Cranston) is a retired cornflakes factory worker. He loves numbers and counts literally everything, but now he does not know where the children will go without work. His wife Marge (Annette Bening) has been waiting for her husband to retire for 40 years, dreaming of spending time with him and living a high life.
But Jerry is not happy. He is bored, and the fishing boat given to him by the children is sitting idle. Somehow a pensioner finds out about a new lottery, in the terms of which he finds a miscalculation. With the help of calculations, Jerry understands that you can always win in it, it is enough just to buy a lot of tickets at once. After a couple of successful attempts, the main character tells his wife about the loophole, and together they start making money from it. And they decide to share the winnings with the residents of their small town in order to revive life in it.
“Jerry and Marge Play Big” stands out primarily for its texture. It’s a quiet little town in the American Midwest, where “poor” retirees wear the same simple clothes (checkered shirts), drive huge pickup trucks, and talk about what they’re going to spend their savings on. We have seen all this in dozens of other films and TV series, but here such details are joked about, and sometimes even mocked.
Next, attention is drawn to the high-quality acting of Cranston and Bening, as well as their not the strongest, but still present on-screen chemistry. Apart from them, only Rain Wilson plays adequately, who got the role of a bold and good-natured seller of a shop near a gas station. The other actors are just the background of this trio and don’t even try, or maybe aren’t able, to play at least somehow convincingly.
The emphasis in “Jerry and Marge Play Big” is not only on the scheme invented by the main character, but also on his personal relationship with himself, the world, and his own children. And if the scriptwriter wrote the first one very badly, then the second one was much better.
The explanation of the winning scheme and subsequent manipulations with lottery tickets and other nuances of earning are explained in a confusing and crumpled manner. The authors seem to carefully insert explanations of lottery actions into the mouths of the heroes, but it is difficult to understand the entire cycle. Perhaps this happened only to me, so if you have already watched the film, then write in the comments whether you all understood about the “release of tickets into circulation”, for example. It didn’t reach me at all.
But the hero’s self-digging and growth are already clear to any viewer and make them empathize. Jerry is a do-gooder who was too obsessed with numbers, which sometimes prevented him from being a good father, husband, or neighbor. The hero understands this only in retirement, but tries with all his might to correct the situation. Also, Cranston’s character has a big heart and always cares about loved ones, which is also skillfully conveyed in all his actions and important plot twists.
Closer to the finale, one more minus of the script is revealed – the heroine Annette Bening does not appear in the picture as a self-sufficient person, but only as an aid to reveal the character of her husband. It’s a pity that the screenwriter did not manage to give her more independence.
The picture also stands out for its neat, not vulgar, and sometimes heart-breaking intellectual humor. Only occasionally do the jokes border on the foul, but they never cross over into vulgarity.
Pros: high-quality, intellectual humor and self-irony about the lives of American retirees, good acting by the three main actors, understandable motives and actions of the hero, which make you empathize Cons: poorly explained details of the lottery, which does not make many important actions of the characters understandable, mediocre performance of the secondary actors, all the emphasis is on the character Jerry, and Marge acts only as a support Conclusion:
Jerry and Marge Play Big is a movie about kindness and compassion. This is a film about a couple of cheerful and intelligent pensioners who are reviving a relationship that has withered in 40 years of marriage. They gradually become millionaires, sharing money with neighbors and relatives, while improving their hometown. At the same time, the film does not explain the intricacies of lottery tickets well, which is sometimes annoying and makes it difficult to understand some of the characters’ motives.
If you suddenly have nothing to watch and like comedy dramas based on real events, then be sure to pay attention to this novelty. And if you haven’t watched the latest episodes of “The Boys”, “The Orville” or “Star Trek: Brave New Worlds”, then you better turn them on. “Jerry and Marge Play it Big” is definitely not for everyone. This is not a must-see picture regardless of your favorite genre