A Few Good Men (1992) features Tom Cruise as Daniel Kaffee, a self-centered, fast-talking, egotistical…okay it features him as Tom Cruise, but in the film he plays a JAG Corps defense attorney. The film also features Demi Moore as Lieutenant Commander JoAnne Galloway, a tough, disciplined, independent woman…okay a role she would essentially repeat for G.I. Jane (1997). However, their performances are not the problem, as much as their roles.
The story features Galloway trying to lead a case wherein she will defend two marines charged with murder. However, because of his skills in negotiating in court, Kaffee is given the lead. While Kaffee governs their case through his charisma in court and his fluency with people, Galloway keeps their focus and maintains their determination to continue fighting for their clients.
I personally would have found the story more compelling if the cocky egotistical Kaffee had played second chair, with him not being given leadership playing into how he treated Galloway. In turn, Galloway’s discipline would have made the lead role more compelling and forceful. In the film, Kaffee is originally reluctant to take the case to trial, and if my switch took place, Kaffee might have been even more reluctant if he were not given the spotlight, and Galloway might have served a better purpose as the lead in convincing him to be more attentive and serious.
In the film, Kaffee also gives Galloway advice on how to behave in court, and how to overcome mistakes. This might have been more appropriate for him is he played the role with more experience, and would have given him more likability. It would have also been more appropriate for Galloway to make the mistakes if she were less experienced.
Though A Few Good Men remains one of my favorite films, I find it would have been even more compelling and appropriate for Galloway’s character to have been the younger lead and Kaffee to be the cocky secondary character.