It’s a sweet concept with a shaky execution- is our review of “Jerry and Marge Go Large.” Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening create some magic on-screen with their pairing. The movie is about a retired factory worker, Jerry, who uses his math skills to win the lottery over and over. He is joined by his wife and the entire town in this endeavor, and they use their earnings for the betterment of the place. A sweet concept, which felt really disconnected at times. What kept us going through the 1.5 hours of the runtime was definitely Bryan Cranston’s dedication to his character and just the overall cuteness of the couple. For our further opinions, let us see what the story is about.
How Do Jerry And Marge Start Winning The Lottery?
The story of “Jerry and Marge Go Large” begins with Jerry Selbee’s retirement from his job as a factory worker after 42 years of service. His work majorly involved ruling out the irregularities in the process and improving the efficiency of the system. But unlike others, Jerry is not looking forward to retirement. We initially think that it is because he has no idea what to do with himself after that, but as we slowly discover, the reason is more complex. The only thing Jerry has always been able to understand, without a fault, is numbers, and he has made them his whole life. Now that the numbers are taken away from him, he has to start understanding people, something he was never good at. And that scares him. So, in one of his brooding phases, he comes across the Winfall game, and he reads the fine print on it. The math in his brain starts whirring as he figures out the loophole in the game, and he puts it to use to make a lot of money. He tries to hide it initially, but Marge catches on to him. He tells her that he felt silly about it, which is why he kept quiet. But Marge is happy. For her, she had always wanted to spend time with her husband, and wanted to have something in common between the two of them that would help her make sense of the love she felt for him. She had been waiting for him to retire so that she could get that time. But even that came with its own hiccups. So when she discovered his lottery habit, she not only found common ground with her husband but it also satisfied that part of her that wanted an adventure.
We come to know in one of the scenes that Marge and Jerry got married when they were 17 years old, with the money Jerry was supposed to use to take her to prom. It is obvious that this meant that they had to take on the responsibilities of a family very early on, not giving them enough time and space to explore their own relationship and youth. The lottery was their lost chance.
Jerry and Marge join together and start playing more and more. They decide to use the money to bring back the jazz festival that their town used to be known for. In fact, both of them take it a step further and start a company for the sole purpose of playing the lottery, and the people of the entire town are shareholders. The money that Jerry is earning is livening up the town by helping the people find a purpose.
While it was so far, so good, we couldn’t help but ask why a man with brains like Jerry was just a factory worker all his life. Surely, he could have done more. The movie should have provided an explanation for that. Also, there is a point where his son says that he has seen Jerry get pushed around his entire life. But from what we saw, Jerry, though a mild-mannered person, was respected and loved by his friends and family. So that sentence felt a little out of place to us. And our biggest bone to pick with the movie is how they treated the character of Marge. We thought Hollywood had started stepping away from the trope of the woman just being there to aid the man’s journey? But we suppose it is hard to leave the comfort zone, even when her name is literally in the title of the movie.
‘Jerry And Marge Go Large’ Ending Explained- Do Jerry And Marge Win The Final Lottery?
We know that, other than Jerry, Tyler, a student at Harvard, had also figured out the loophole. But unlike Jerry and Marge, he is more selfish and wants to win the money to prove a point and get away from his father’s shadow. He is ruthless in the way he assigns people to work on his scheme without really bringing any benefit to them. When he tries to cut Jerry out of the competition, the latter, with all of the wisdom of his years, drops the truth bomb that Tyler is doing this because he doesn’t have anyone. And he will never do either, if he doesn’t start thinking about others. Tyler’s friends, when they realize this, opt-out of his scheme, leaving Tyler to carry out his operation by himself.
On the other hand, a reporter is on to the story of Jerry and Marge, and after she figures out what is going on, she is wowed that they are doing this for their town’s good without resorting to anything illegal. But she is forbidden by her editor to do a fluff piece, forcing her to write a scathing article on the exploitation of the lottery loophole. As a saving grace, she uses Tyler’s name and photograph instead of Jerry’s. This leads to Tyler being forced to drop out of university and being taken home by his dad. The lottery is shut down as well, with Jerry being unable to buy the last of the tickets. But a surprise is in store for him. The town had bought back the jazz festival, and as a gift to Jerry, they all had placed stake-outs at every store and bought the last of the tickets, meaning that they could all score a final big win, which they did. So yes, Jerry and Marge, along with the entire town, win the final lottery.
Final Thoughts: What Works And What Doesn’t?
It’s not fair to say that the movie tried to do too much. But the execution certainly faltered on the emotional end. The character arcs, the details, and pretty much everything else were on point. But a few emotions, especially those between Jerry and his children, were left unaddressed. There was obviously a lot of love and understanding in those relationships. But there also seemed to be slight friction. While that was dealt with when it came to the son, it wasn’t mentioned with the daughter. And Marge’s character needed a better background.
Otherwise, Bryan Cranston was cute as Jerry. He seems to be settling well into the role of the awkward genius who can come up with amazing ideas to make money. Annette Bening was charming, and the rest of the characters were sufficiently interesting. It was a good watch, not one we might necessarily revisit, but which felt right for after a long day at work. With a bit more polish, this movie would be nothing short of perfect. Hope Hollywood gets that right next time.
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