Film Review: Larry Crowne (2011)

| 21 July , 2011 | Reply

Directed By: Tom Hanks
Staring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Cedric the Entertainer
Sassi’s Rating: 2.5/5

After years of service and nine U-Mart employee of the month awards, the recession finds all-around good guy Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) out of a job, over financed, and completely unemployable. In order to turn his luck around Larry enrols in the local community college and the class of disenchanted professor Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts) where he begins to learn more important things then anything he could find in a textbook.

Suddenly the over the hill ‘retail professional\’ is feng shui-ing his house, rolling with a scooter gang, and you guessed it – falling in love with teacher. Despite this the film manages to evade middle-aged crisis territory and articulates a message about harnessing the power to improve yourself, change your circumstances, and find happiness – no matter how old you are.

Larry Crowne is a pleasant movie. It\’s full of pleasant characters doing pleasant things and everything turns out rather pleasantly. Really there\’s nothing so bad about that because in the end it leaves you feeling pretty pleasant. Hanks has set out to compose a feel good romantic-comedy for a mature audience and by the book he has succeeded. We can bemoan the lack of real crisis or tension in the storyline, and we can critique the lack of ingenuity – but I honestly don\’t think that that was ever his intention.

What is off-putting is the lack of romantic plausibility in a so called romantic comedy. It\’s like the prom king and queen finally pairing up before you realise that they\’re not as perfect together as you expected. On paper the match is ideal, and in the pre-press Hanks and Roberts bounce off each other with an energy that would make most romantic leads green. But it just doesn\’t work in this film.

Perhaps it\’s because both actors are capable of so much more then the underdeveloped and often annoying caricatures they are trying to endear us to. This isn\’t to say that they are both without charisma, and as the film goes along you do begin to care more. That is excluding the moment when you are subjected to one of the more anti-climatic and awkward grand romantic cinematic kisses of late. But for me the romance was all about two individuals and their growth into people who can take risks for what they want. I\’m glad that they took a chance on someone; I just didn\’t necessarily care if it was each other.

In saying that the film is jam packed with a strong supporting cast of real comedic talent. From Cedric the Entertainer, to Star Trek\’s George Takei, to Rami Malek, and That 70\’s Show\’s Wilmer Valderrama. They all draw their chuckles from the audience, keep the film suitably upbeat, and contribute a lot of the charm – even if they are textbook laughs.

If you\’re looking for anything challenging then Larry Crowne will not be your cup of tea. This film does nothing to push the envelope, or even to excel in its own genre. But if you\’re looking for a nice mature aged romantic comedy to keep you occupied for the evening then Larry Crowne will surely leave you feeling sufficiently pleasant.

Larry Crowne is released nationally from today, July 21st.


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Category: Film & TV

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