Friday, July 01, 2011

Larry Crowne

Today I saw Larry Crowne, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.

Larry (Hanks) is a content retail worker until his world comes crashing down during company layoffs. He's forced to give up his house, his car—his life as he knows it.

The reason given for him being chosen as someone to lay off is insufficient education, so he decides to go back to school to use up all of this new spare time. There, at the local community college, he takes a class from Mrs. Tainot (Roberts). She's a bitter, jaded, out-of-love-with-her-husband kind of woman who probably shouldn't be teaching anymore.

But of course, her hard-ass approach and wrap dresses make all of the students a captive audience, and soon the kid who was answering his cell phone in class is up giving presentations just like everyone else (even if he cheats by writing them on his hands).

Did I mention that Larry befriends another student in the class who convinces him to join her scooter gang? And that the scooter gang is comprised of people younger and more diverse than Larry?

Sound cliché? Well, it is, but I can't help but still love Hanks, who co-wrote this with My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos.

He (as usual) is incredibly likable in this role, and a few cameos from his real-life wife, Rita Wilson, and Vardalos' real-life husband, Ian Gomez are also fun to watch.

But the chemistry between Roberts and Hanks isn't as electric as the script would imply. With the exception of one 'kiss' scene, which tells us of their physical attraction, these two characters appear to have no reason to even like one another.

Bryan Cranston, who plays Roberts' loser of a husband, has more sparks with her in his limited time on screen than she and Hanks do throughout the entire film.

For a formulaic, occasionally funny, PG-day-at-the-movies type of flick, Crowne isn't horrible, but it certainly doesn't live up to its stars' or writers' other works.


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