Where I Watched It: Paramount Plus
English Audio Description Provided By: international Digital Center
Written By: Liz Gutman
Narrated By: Sri Gordon
Yes, this is a Paramount Players title, suggesting it was never intended for a theatrical run, which I think was the wrong call. With the theatres starved for product, and the older crowd looking for pictures to go to (like the hit film Elvis), I think that this based on a true story comedy would have done nicely with that crowd. Not huge amounts of money, but probably 30-40M, increasing it’s visibility and profile when it then went to Paramount Plus, instead of being forgotten and buried.
It’s a simple enough story. A man (Cranston), who is really good at math, and has just entered retirement, looks at this special section of the lottery, the rollback feature, and realizes that there is a mathematical formula that would allow him to guarantee a win. And, win he does. Eventually, he ropes his wife into it, as well as the rest of his friends in town, and they start investing in this lottery loophole. It’s not until a Harvard brat discovers the same thing, and decides he wants to be considered for the next Bond villain, that things get ruined.
Jerry and Marge is not the kind of film that you will remember for years to come, or put on for multiple viewings. I don’t know how the critics feel about it, but i have a hint in my mind. I’m assuming this film is unfairly being written off for being too fluffy. But, there’s nothing wrong with being entertained when you go to the cinema, or load a film at home. Why are we shaming films because they aren’t Citizen Kane?
looking at the film for what it is, I found it enjoyable, entertaining, and a nice way to spend an afternoon. It’s not offensive. It doesn’t have tons of cursing, nudity, drugs, exploding heads, or anything that would make this not something the whole family could watch (though, kids might be bored). This movie was fine. Better than fine, actually. It was pretty good
My biggest complaint is that Larry Wilmore, who has spent his life doing talk show format programs, doesn’t have the acting chops yet, and it was noticeable. There are worse actors, but in a cast that has a deeper bench than just stars Cranston and Bening, with appearances from Michael McKean, Anna Camp, and Rainn Wilson, his inexperience does stand out a bit.
The Blind Perspective: I do have to point out a beautifully written scene by Liz that absolutely subverted all the rules of audio description in the best way. typically, we don’t get a character name before it’s used, which means you can go the whole film following “the redhead”, who could be a lead character if no one says their name, you’ll never know it, even if it’s in the credits.
But here, there was a scene early on celebrating Jerry’s retirement, where the audio description set the whole scene, letting us know who was in the room, and their relation to Jerry. We got his wife Marge, their two neighbor friends, and Jerry and Marge’s children (as well as their kids). All before the dialogue spoke. it was so filling. It was Ike Thanksgiving in audio description terms. I wish this was more commonplace.
Final Thoughts: While I acknowledge in 20 years, I will have forgotten this film, i grade based on right now, and not based on some weird scale that because this film isn’t Casablanca, it should be punished for some reason.
Final Grade: A-