When I first heard about Larry Crowne, I was excited. With a cast that includes Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts and a script that was co written by Nia Vardolas (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), I was really looking for something special. The timely theme of a recession hit economy forcing a older, yet highly qualified man to literally reinvent his career and his life was also enticing. Unfortunately, Larry Crowne just didn’t deliver.
The Plot: Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) is the manager at the local U-Mart store (think Walmart). Larry loves his job and his enthusiasm for the job is evident. Unfortunately, since Larry doesn’t have a college degree U-Mart management doesn’t feel the same way, so they let him go. Unemployed and underwater on his mortgage, Larry decides to change his life and go to college. Enter Julia Roberts, Julia plays speech teacher Mercedes Tainot. Mercedes is basically unhappy and has lost both her passion for teaching and her husband Dean Tainot, played by Bryan Cranston. While at school Larry connects with a group of scooter riding young students and develops a crush on Julia Roberts. There is a cast of odd and quirky characters throughout the movie, unfortunately they don’t generate more than a few chuckles. The movie does have a feel good happy ending and with a running time if just 1 hour and 39 minutes is relatively painless.
As I watched this movie I couldn’t help but ask myself, what were Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks thinking when they decided to make this movie? Two of Hollywood’s biggest stars with access to the best scripts and this is what they chose. To make matters worse, it was well documented that Hanks really pushed to get this film made and wooed Julia to play his leading lady. Don’t get me wrong, I love both Tom and Julia. In fact, that’s probably what makes matters worse.
Hanks has been in many of my favorite films including Castaway, Apollo 13, and Forrest Gump not to mention his earlier cult classics Big, The Burbs, A League of Their Own.. I could go on! Julia of course shot to superstardom with hits like Pretty Woman and Mystic Pizza and remained America’s Sweetheart through flicks like Notting Hill, My Best Friend’s Wedding and even more serious fare like The Pelican Brief, Erin Brokovich and her recent smash hit Eat Pray Love. It’s not that this is a bad movie, I just expect a lot more from two actors who’s film library could easily fill my Netflix queue.
The bottom line: if you have a rainy summer day or need an escape from some unbearable 100 degree heat, go see Larry Crowne. Otherwise just wait for its release on REDBOX. For a $1.00 it will be a lot more enjoyable.