TOM HANKS JULIA ROBERTS CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER TARAJI P HENSON
WILMER VALDERRAMA GUGU RAW PAM GRIER GRACE GUMMER RITA WILSON
The last time Tom Hanks directed a movie was in 1996; That Thing You Do was a cute little movie about the creation of a band. Larry Crowne is starring and even directed by Tom Hanks. It’s too much Tom Hanks, and a decade ago I would have said you can’t have too much Tom Hanks. But now, the once iconic and respected actor has turned into a has been and it makes me very sad. Hanks's last great film was all the way back in 2002, Road to Perdition. Since then he has delivered a barrage of disappointments. With the Da Vinci Code saga, he lost his hardcore fan base and has been MIA since that failed prequel. While his first teaming with Julia Roberts in Charlie Wilson’s War was luke warm, this is like a coloring book.
Fifty something year old Larry Crowne (Hanks) has been let go from his department store job due to lack of education concerning future promotion. To ensure that never happens again, he enrolls in the nearby community college. His first class is communication/public speaking with Professor Mercedes Tainot (Roberts), who wants anything but to be in her class. Chummy Larry quickly makes cool friends and discovers he is good at the college life, which he balances with a part time job. In a drunken night with her soon to be ex husband, Larry happens by Mrs. Tainot at a bus stop and gives her a ride home on his vintage scooter and an opportunity arises for teacher and student.
Larry Crowne is certainly a film written in this world of happiness almost like one of those songs that talks about how everything is going to be alright while people smile stupidly and wave their arms. Hanks co-wrote the script with his wife Rita Wilson’s buddy Nia Vardalos from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. If you squint your eye and use your imagination you can see Mama Mia or a host of other Greek film scenarios in here. Both Oscar winners Roberts and Hanks have lost the ability to open films atop the box office, and both have also lost that star power that really demands attention to their work, because they have gotten too comfortable in their personal lives to go out and make edgy, demanding, and important films that challenge them.
There are about three moderately cute moments in the film; the rest is chocked up to moments that deserve more than an eye roll. My coloring book reference reflects the fact that every page Larry turns is another adventure waiting for him to explore as if he were Dora jumping from page to page. But Larry Crowne isn’t written in real life. Whatever it was that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan had so long ago, however annoying it was, he and Julia have not a single ounce of it. If you have ever been to a community college I think the eclectic bunch of teachers and students are appropriately reflected here and perhaps that would have made a more interesting storyline.
Final Thought – Larry Crowne proves Hanks and Roberts are lazy.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Michael Woody