Directed by Tom Hanks. Starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Sarah Mahoney, Roxana Ortega, Cedric the Entertainer, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, George Takei.
You can’t not watch a movie with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in it. Reason: You’ll never get to see a pairing like this again. Now while Larry Crowne is neither romantic nor a comedy, it still has charm. It’s a slice of life situation, that’s a bit weird but surprisingly endearing.
It hasn’t got the best reviews online and you may not end up enjoying it as much as you thought you would considering the star cast. Hanks is older, very botoxed and not as brilliant as we know him to be. Roberts is still just as svelte, with that big smile we all love and a character that we’ll probably hate in the beginning because she’s played so well.
Larry Crowne, star employee at Umart, gets laid off in true American fashion because he lacks an education. So, out of money and with no job prospects on the horizon for the former navy cook, he decides to go back to college. There, not only does he become smarter, but he gets a sense of style and charisma too.
I expected there to be more Hanks-Roberts interactions but that only happens in the second half. The two don’t dominate the movie. Side characters like Gugu Mbatha-Raw who plays the over-bubbly student Talia and George Takei’s economics professor get lots of screen time and funny moments. That ‘70s Show star Wilmer Valderama has grown up and gotten hunky. He’s Talia’s slightly jealous biker boyfriend. Then there’s the cute Italian classmate doofus Steve Dibiasi (Rami Malek). And of course Lamar (Cedric the entertainer), Crowne’s neighbour, who has a 24/7 garage sale and has a unique but hilarious bargaining technique.
Julia’s crotchety communications teacher Mrs Mercedes Tainot with the bad marriage and alcoholism is quite nice. You don’t want to see her grimacing all the time but it’ll make you appreciate that big ‘Mona Lisa Smile’ and fall in love with the ‘Pretty Woman’ all over again.
Hanks, also the director and co-writer, looks like he’s more the captain steering this cast of young and old talent to make a charming little situation piece for us to have a bit of chuckle and feel a bit fuzzy. Rita Wilson, Hanks’ wife, makes an appearance as she has done in some of his past films.
It may not have much of a story or anything new to offer, but Larry Crowne is a funny little film with two big actors who you’ll probably not get to watch together ever again. So if you’re fans, go watch it. And the three stars which probably should be two, is only because of the Hanks-Roberts combo.