Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts
July 1, 2011
1 hour 38 minutes
It's hard to deny watching a Tom Hanks movie. It's also hard to deny watching a Julia Roberts movie. Put these two in a movie together and it's a match made in cinema heaven. Their latest film together, Larry Crowne tells a delightful story that offers laughs, heart, and a lot of charm. Tom Hanks directed, wrote, starred, and produced this movie using his production company, Playtone. The name Playtone comes from the recording company in Tom Hanks' directorial debut, the 1996 film 'That Thing You Do.' This movie is only Hanks' second directorial effort. As a sophomore effort, it's better than other directors' second movies. However while this movie may be good, it is not as good as 'That Thing You Do.' The first half of the movie is worthy of a four star rating. However the second half of the movie unfortunately deserves a **1/2 star rating, because the movie just got pretty boring towards the end. Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are sublime actors, but this movie just didn't have the same effect as movies like 'Big' and 'Pretty Woman' had. The story is original and the supporting cast is hilarious, but I expected more from the two leads. Even so, I would highly recommend taking your date out to see Larry Crowne, because I can guarantee that you will be laughing quite a bit throughout the movie. Just be prepared to get serious during the second half.
Larry Crowne, a divorced middle-aged man/Navy veteran absolutely loves his job, and has been employee of the month eight times in a row. Everyone loves him, and he loves life. That is until the day he is fired from his job due to his lack of a college education. Despite being on the verge of foreclosure, Larry decides to go to college and take a couple of classes. One of his classes, Speech 217, is taught by Mercedes Tainot, a woman who drinks and gets hung over almost every day due to her, pardon my foul language, douchebag of a husband. As Larry is falling in love with Mercedes, he joins a scooter group, with one of its members being Tahlia. Tahlia is a free spirited girl who helps Larry see life in a whole new light.
Let me just point out that this movie may be one of the most unrealistic movies of the year. That is really saying something because we are in a summer filled with superheroes and special effects and explosions everywhere we look. In no way would Tom Hanks ever be in a scooter gang, who do a slight homage to 'West Side Story' upon our introduction to the group. Tom Hanks would never end up with Julia Roberts, because for a full quarter of the movie, we see her either drinking or being hung over. The only real things in this movie involve adults taking community college and the subplot involving a foreclosure. However, this unrealistic aspect of this movie adds a quirky side to the film that helps give it some charm and humor. The movie has a nice premise, but just remember that most of this movie would never happen in the history of human existence. That is unless you know someone who is in a scooter gang and snap their fingers like the Jets and the Sharks.
Even though they were pretty good in this movie, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts were not at the top of their game in this movie. Hanks knows how to play the nicest and most socially active person in existence, which was clearly shown in this movie. However at some moments it seemed that he was too nice of a character. I wanted to see Larry just get pissed off at someone because of all of the problems he has. Julia Roberts plays one of the worst movie teachers in recent memory. Think of her role this way: if Cameron Diaz in the recent hit 'Bad Teacher' didn't swear as much, was in her mid to late 40s, and was much nicer to her students, then you would have Julia Roberts in this movie. There seemed to be no reason for Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts to even begin a relationship, despite their ages.
I thought that Tom Hanks would've rather been better with the cute scooter chick Talia, who's played by a fantastic newcomer named Gugu Mbatha-Raw. She and the rest of the supporting cast, including Cedric The Entertainer and Wilmer "Fez" Valderrama make the first half of the movie a very comedic environment. The only supporting actor in this movie who was just there to be a jerk is Bryan Cranston as Dean Tainot, Mercedes' husband. This guy spends every day looking up pornography to satisfy himself. I know that I'm using this foul word a lot, but it's best to describe Cranston's character this way. Dean may possibly get my award for biggest douchebag of the year. He argues with his wife, looks up porn thinking that Mercedes doesn't know when in fact she does, and tells her that he does it to make up for the breast size of Mercedes. That is possibly the most inhumane thing I've ever heard a man say in a movie before. He is a vile and despicable person, and I think the audience will like him for that. Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts may not be at the top of their game in this movie, but the hilarious supporting cast makes up for that.
Larry Crowne is far from being an Oscar contender despite its leading actors. However, this movie does exactly what it was made to do: to make you feel good inside. Tom Hanks clearly knew that this movie wouldn't be award worthy. I think that he just wanted to make a movie to make people feel good about their lives. Audiences will love this movie because of its quirky humor and the nice life messages in it. I am betting that this film will end up being hailed as "the feel good movie of the summer." I can agree, but there are many rom-coms out there that may be better than this movie. We don't get any of the magic that was in 'When Harry Met Sally' or 'Sleepless in Seattle,' but we do get something that will be passed on as a charming and quirky movie. I don't think that you should rush out to see it, but you will enjoy the movie whether you see it in theaters or on DVD. This movie is like 'The Art Of Getting By:' a feel good movie that you don't need to rush out to see. To the folks out there who want to go on a date with that special someone, this may be the best thing out there if 'Bridesmaids' or 'Midnight in Paris' aren't playing anywhere locally. So if there's nothing else out there and you and a date just want to go see a movie, you may just want to pay a trip to go see 'Larry Crowne.'
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