You can bank on this: Jerry & Marge Go Large is a fun, smart, heartfelt, and even intermittently romantic movie that’s perfect for at-home date-night streaming. It’s a sweet movie about a strange adventure set in the suburbs, with a wholesome, yet compelling story. And because you’ve got Bryan Cranston going from zero to hero, if you squint, Jerry & Marge Go Large is totally the feel-good Breaking Bad. Here’s why we loved this unexpected new gem, and why we expect it might become the sleeper-hit for couples to watch when they’re looking for something uplifting and smart. Mild spoilers ahead.
Starring Bryan Cranston and Annette Bening and directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada), Jerry & Marge is inspired by a true story and a Huffington Post article. The movie unfolds in 1996 and follows Jerry (Cranston) and Marge Selbee (Bening), a retired couple who teamed up to beat the system – exploiting a mathematical loophole -- and slowly but steadily collected $26 million in a lottery game called Winfall, first in their native small town in Michigan and then in Massachusetts. It was a win-win for everyone, as Jerry and Marge reconnect emotionally and physically, and they let friends, family, and numerous town folk share in their good fortune. And the town itself benefited, too, with stores reopening, a park fixed up, and a local jazz festival coming alive again. The Massachusetts education system raked in big bucks, as well.
Nothing lasts forever, however. It’s not long before Jerry and Marge must contend both with a group of hotshot Harvard students who’ve cracked the system and don’t like having competition, especially from a couple of senior citizens, and a diligent journalist (Tracie Thoms) determined to break the story.
Truth be told, Jerry & Marge Go Large works best as something watched at home. It’s an easygoing movie with no superheroes, car chases, explosions, or fancy special effects, and it’s a bit on the pokey side – though not boring. If you paid 15 bucks for a ticket to catch it at a movie theater, you’d definitely question your decision. Watching it at home, in the comfort of your living room, with the ability to press the pause button for bathroom breaks or to grab something to eat? It’s perfect for that.
And its cast is impeccable. Cranston and Bening share a sweet, low-key chemistry, and they make you root for Jerry and Marge. Thoms, who co-starred in Frankel’s The Devil Wears Prada, does a nice job of portraying the journalist; she aims to get the truth out there, but thankfully isn’t made to be the villain of the piece. Anna Camp plays the Selbees’ initially-disapproving daughter and Michael McKean co-stars as one of the Selbees’ closest friends, and both actors do what they can with largely underwritten roles. And then there’s Rainn Wilson and Larry Wilmore. Wilson generates laughs as a quirky convenience store clerk who becomes integral to the Selbees’ ever-evolving ticket-buying operation, while Wilmore pretty much steals the show as the couples’ multitasking, widower accountant, who has a bemused take on their finances, their unlikely way of securing a nest egg, and how it all rubs off on him and his own situation.
“We don’t get movies like this very often,” Rainn Wilson tells Fatherly. “Everyone will enjoy it. Yeah, it’s about a bunch of old people. But it's told in a very youthful, fun, vibrant way. These are All-American characters, good people trying to do good things, you know, in small-town America. It's so uplifting and heartwarming and, and just feels real.”
We couldn’t agree more. Catch Jerry & Marge Go Large streaming on Paramount+ right now.