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HomeEntertainment‘Jerry & Marge Go Large’ Review: You Don’t Know Jackpot

‘Jerry & Marge Go Large’ Review: You Don’t Know Jackpot

The mild Midwestern couple anchoring “Jerry & Marge Go Large” are hearty, spry and scarcely beyond their fifties. But you wouldn’t know that from their dialogue, which seems intent on establishing Jerry (Bryan Cranston) and Marge (Annette Bening) as geriatrics; “too old,” “golden years” and “missed my chance” are a few of the key terms encircling them.

This framing of the protagonists is essential to “Jerry & Marge”; the dopey comedy uses the sheer implausibility of its scenario as a selling point. Elderly simpletons pulling off a cash gambit? Don’t be silly! Audiences may roll their eyes, but the director, David Frankel, plays up the hook: One more slow-mo shot of dad sneakers or mom jeans and certain sequences could double as ads for Walmart clothing.

Loosely based on a true news item, the story begins with the recently retired Jerry discovering a flaw in the arithmetic behind a lottery game. Capitalizing on the loophole, he starts to win big, and even ropes in fellow townspeople as shareholders. The neighbors pool their profits, hoping to reinstall a local jazz fest, until a group of Harvard students inexplicably emerges as avaricious adversaries.

In tone and semiotics, “Jerry & Marge” evokes conventional sitcoms. A schematic score accentuates moments of humor or sentiment, and each realization, narrative turn or lesson learned is repeated aloud in concrete terms. While the movie sustains levity, its lack of subtlety — and a lack of stakes, save for sweepstakes — make for an altogether bland bonanza.

Jerry & Marge Go Large
Rated PG-13 for windfalls and pratfalls. 1 hour 36 minutes. Watch on Paramount+.

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