Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening in ‘Jerry & Marge Go Large’: Film Review | Tribeca 2022

Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening in ‘Jerry & Marge Go Large’: Film Review | Tribeca 2022

Don’t be deceived. Jerry & Marge Get Large is not Barb or Star Go to Vista Del Mar .. The title appears to promise a raucous caper, but unless you’re tickled by endless shots of Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening chortling away while exchanging the kind of twinkly-eyed, adoring looks that ought to be outlawed for couples married 46 years, the amusement is spread awfully thin. David Frankel continues coasting on his Devil Wears Prada rep, between TV gigs and unwatchable features (Collateral Beauty, anyone?). This Paramount glorified Hallmark movie is utterly toothless and a sham.

Brad Copeland’s pedestrian script was inspired by a 2018 HuffPost article by Jason Fagone, which outlined how Jerry Selbee, a retired Kellogg’s factory employee from Michigan with an aptitude for statistical calculation, found a loophole in a state lottery that allowed him, his wife Marge and the friends-and-family corporation of bettors they formed to pocket $27 million in winnings over nine years. Without violating the law.

Jerry & Marge Go Large

The Bottom Line

They can be both small and large.

Release date: Friday, June 17
Venue: Tribeca Film Festival (Spotlight Narrative)
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Annette Bening, Larry Wilmore, Rainn Wilson, Anna Camp, Ann Harada, Cheech Manohar, Jake McDorman, Michael McKean, Uly Schlesinger, Tracie Thoms
Director: David Frankel
Screenwriter: Brad Copeland, based on the article Jerry and Marge Go Large, by Jason Fagone


Rated PG-13,
1 hour 36 minutes

It’s an intriguing story with a human interest angle. Jerry and Marge, do-gooders, spread the wealth to residents and business owners in a small blue-collar community on economic life support. The movie is surprisingly uncinematic and low-stakes. It is also incredibly cute, with Cranston and Bening playing the title roles. They are a bit too qualified to bring out the old-fashioned folksy oldsterisms to an absurd level.

Copeland explains every thematic undercurrent. Especially Jerry’s obsession with numbers has made it difficult to relate to people, even his children. The lottery scheme finally allows him the opportunity to use his gift of connecting with people.

The schmaltz depicts his relationship with Marge, who is a briskly efficient woman but longs for more romance. Maybe not lately, considering the emphasis on them skipping high school prom to get married. It’s easy to see that they’ll be dancing in moonlight and swooning before the script is over.

David Cronenberg said in a recent interview, “You don’t make a movie where nice people are all nice to one another.” It would be so boring.” There are exceptions, but movies such as Jerry & Marge Go Large validate this point. This hokey version of Evart in Michigan is so charming, from Jerry’s widowed accountant Steve to the quirky couple Howard (Michael McKean), and Shirley (Ann Harada), they’re as dull as dishwater. The same applies to Jerry and Marge’s adult children Dawn (Anna Camp), and Doug (Jake McDorman). Even the complaint of the former that his father never tossed a football with them is made almost apologetically.

Conflict is when another lottery syndicate, led by Uly Schlesinger, a senior at Harvard, becomes aggressive about edging out their competition. He’s a scumbag with his ageist quips, and elitist assumptions about Selbees being easy prey. He exists mainly to be defeated by Jerry with The Big Speech. While mean people may be able to prosper, they will end up lonely and unhappy in this rose-tinted universe. (For the record: M.I.T. was the source of the real lottery students. )

A more creative script might have created tension through the Boston Globe reporter Tracie Thoms, who was looking at the story. The state lottery management is very chill about smart people buying large numbers of tickets in the “roll down” weeks between jackpots. After that, they then score multiple low- or medium-level wins. It’s unlikely that anyone would be too concerned about whether Evart gets to revive their beloved Jazz Festival, unless they live in the most culturally degraded backwater.

This particular lottery scheme has a unique feature. It requires a lot of human labor to print thousands of tickets and then manually check them for days. Frankel and Copeland can’t make the sight of Marge and Jerry in their Walmart clothes, poking at lottery machines in a Massachusetts convenience shop (after the lottery is abruptly shut down by Michigan) fascinating.

Rainn Wilson is the cashier at one such store. But he’s mostly there to provide golly-gee narration for Jerry and Marge during their long hours of car travel. This, like all things, is too charm-oriented. Random vintage needle drops are also accompanied by road trips — Springsteen, Springsteen, The Kinks and The Who. Those are better than Jake Monaco’s sappy score.

The movie looks good, but Maryse Alberti (a gifted French DP) is not the only one who was involved in this film. I was so bored that I began to associate the title with Large Marge, the phantom truck driver in Peewee’s Big Adventure –. I wished I was instead watching her origin story.

Full credits

Venue: Tribeca Film Festival (Spotlight Narrative)
Distribution: Paramount
Production companies: Gil Netter, Levantine Films, Landline Pictures
Cast: Bryan Cranston, Annette Bening, Larry Wilmore, Rainn Wilson, Anna Camp, Ann Harada, Cheech Manohar, Jake McDorman, Michael McKean, Uly Schlesinger, Tracie Thoms
Director: David Frankel
Screenwriter: Brad Copeland, based on the article Jerry and Marge Go Large, by Jason Fagone
Producers: Gil Netter, Amy Baer, Tory Metzger, Renee Witt
Executive producers: Kevin Halloran, Thalia Daniel, Jennie Lee, Gerald Selbee, Marge Selbee, Jason Fagone
Director of photography: Maryse Alberti
Production designer: Russell Barnes
Costume designer: Mary Claire Hannan
Music: Jake Monaco
Editor: Andrew Marcus
Casting: Margery SIMKIN


Rated PG-13,
1 hour 36 minutes

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