Time to dethrone ‘Larry Crowne’

Larry Crowne (2011)

5.5/10  PG-13

Tom Hanks, I just want you to know…I forgive you. It’s tough, but after you directed, co-wrote, and starred in the summer block-bummer Larry Crowne, I reconsidered and gave you a mulligan. Not since That Thing You Do in 1996 have you both directed and written a film, thank goodness, but Larry Crowne is a lousy second effort. “Third time’s a charm,” they’ll say, but I’ll probably wait until your fourth…just to be sure.

When Larry Crowne, played by Hanks, is let go from his position at UMart due to his lack of education, his neighbors (Cedric the Entertainer and Tarija B. Henson) convince him to enroll in community college. He meets Mrs. Tainot, played by Julia Roberts, and then his life begins a whirlwind of new changes. On paper, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts seem a perfect fit, with remarkable résumés and three Oscars between them. But listen to me, Julia Roberts is no Meg Ryan…at least when they’re flirting with Tom Hanks. It didn’t work well in Charlie Wilson’s War and it doesn’t work now.

Roberts and Hanks with lackluster chemistry

The script, written with Hanks by Nia Vardalos, Oscar-nominated screenplay writer and actor best known for My Big Fat Greek Wedding, lacks any comedy, touching drama, or believable romance. I laughed exactly one time, thanks to Wilmer Valderrama and his lispy accented voice. Larry Crowne is one of those movies you walk out of before it reaches the halfway mark. It’s time to forgive and forget, and hope that Hanks’ Captain Phillips in 2013 is better. For Roberts, 2012’s Mirror, Mirror is her next shot. I’ve seen the trailer for that, and it looks like Julia Roberts will make it out of Larry Crowne just fine.

And the supporting cast is ill-used, though they include notable comedic talents like Malcolm Barrett (from the hilarious short-lived “Better Off Ted”) and dramatic presence from Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”). They don’t use any of them. It’s difficult to describe just how bad Larry Crowne really is. If it wasn’t for its famous top-billed stars, it would be much worse, but thankfully Hanks and Roberts have a way of making any movie seem a little better than it really is (I’m talking about you, Castaway).

Larry Crowne is now on DVD and Blu-ray. But trust me, it’s not worth it. Please subscribe to email updates at the bottom of your screen so you can know when another money-saving review is posted!!

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10 thoughts on “Time to dethrone ‘Larry Crowne’

  1. I knew from the preview this would be a stinker….still have to give you props for trying anyway 🙂 Not that I am a fan of either of these two stars… Good review. Cheers…

    1. Tom Hanks is my favorite actor, but this one was extremely disappointing! My mom was seeing it, but I thought since it had Tom Hanks it had to be good. Lol not true.

    1. It wasn’t a terrible portrayal of a professor, but not a great one either. None of the characters had very deep backgrounds, so whether she was alcoholic or just enjoyed a light drink after a hard day of work, we don’t even know!

  2. I did not enjoy this movie. At all. I didn’t think it was funny. It had no real specific vision. It was very bland.

    Having said that (in my own review) it’s hard to be cynical because of the cast, talent behind the script, “passion-project” vibe, and its all arund good nature and positive attitude. I didn’t like it, but I feel bad really hating on it…

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