Larry Crowne

Rated PG-13 99 min. 2011

Tom Hanks’ Larry Crowne isn’t a great movie, but then it very obviously never tries to be one. It sets out to be a pleasant, sweet-natured entertainment that tries to avoid cynicism (perhaps a little too hard). On that basis, it succeeds well enough. The massive critical disdain it’s been subjected to strikes me as overkill of the worst kind. I think a large part of the problem lies in a mistaken notion of what the movie is, since the assumption appears to be that this is a movie about job loss due to downsizing. While the film certainly reflects the current economy and the plight of a 50-ish man looking for a job, it really has more to do with a man being fired over the kind of foolishness only found in corporate employee handbooks. Larry Crowne (Hanks) is not downsized, he’s fired because he has no college education. What we have essentially is the story of Larry reinventing himself, and allowing himself to be reinvented, by going to community college, where he makes some new friends, learns some things, and falls in love with disillusioned speech teacher Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts). Sure, there are areas of satire and realism that are missed. I fully believe in the lazy, delusional character of Mercedes’ unemployed writer husband (Bryan Cranston), who thinks responding to comments on sci-fi blogs and surfing for internet porn constitutes working. I do not believe in the film’s depiction of his porn surfing for a minute. But does it really matter? Not much. This isn’t the aim of the film. Rather, it simply wants to be a nice little romantic comedy with a positive vibe. It is. Sometimes that’s enough.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Tom Hanks

Writer: Tom Hanks

Cast: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Rami Malek, Bryan Cranston, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wilmer Valderrama, Taraji P. Henson and Pam Grier

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