Roush Review: Bryan Cranston, Annette Bening ‘Go Large’ in Big-Hearted Comedy

Bryan Cranston as Jerry Selbee and Annette Bening as Marge Selbee in 'Jerry & Marge Go Large' streaming on Paramount+
Review
Jake Giles Netter/Paramount+

Already among the most likable actors on the planet, Bryan Cranston (who even made villainy appealing in Breaking Bad) and Annette Bening are charm personified as Michigan retirees Jerry and Marge Selbee in the winningly schmaltzy movie Jerry & Marge Go Large, based on a true story.

The spirit of Frank Capra looms large in this benign It’s a Wonderful Lottery fable, when analytical Jerry, at loose ends after a 42-year career at Kellogg’s, discovers a mathematical flaw in an out-of-state Powerball-style game.

With the help of fun-loving Marge, who insists to Jerry, “You’ll find your way,” they score a small fortune playing the numbers, a bounty they’re more than happy to share with their struggling Michigan hometown where everyone knows everyone’s name. (Their circle of friends include Larry Wilmore, Michael McKean and Ann Harada in underwritten roles, a malady that extends to the skeptical Selbee offspring, played by Jake McDorman and Anna Camp.)

Rainn Wilson scores as the grumpy-turned-genial convenience store worker who gets a front-row seat to Jerry and Marge’s enterprise, standing by as they spend hours printing and sorting through the lottery tickets. But it turns out they’re not alone in having figured out how to crack the system.

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The movie is inspired by the true story of a retiree who finds a mathematical loophole in the lottery system.

Their antagonist: a snotty Harvard undergrad (Uly Schlesinger) who can’t believe a couple of old fogeys are endangering his easy payday. His patronizing threats—”It’s just math, nothing personal”—fall on mostly deaf (but not really) ears, because to the Selbees, it’s not just about math and money.

It’s about purpose. And people. Or as Marge puts it, “As long as you and I have each other, we’re not afraid to be stupid.” We should all be so silly.

Jerry & Marge Go Large, Movie Premiere, Friday, June 17, Paramount+