“Larry Crowne” might not be a great movie, but the characters in it have words they actually say, and after the horrible experience I had to endure while watching “Transformers 3”, that is a great relief. When a film covers familiar grounds, as this one, it had better offer an original point of view, or at the very least, interesting characters. “Larry Crowne” doesn’t pretend to be original, and it shows. But it features some interesting and colorful people, which makes it hard to resist. The premise is simple enough: Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks, who also wrote and directed the film) is fired from his worker-bee job at a big-box store on grounds that his lack of a college education has made him unpromotable. So he enrolls in community-college classes, where he meets the always elegant Julia Roberts. Along the way, we learn stuff that doesn’t always pay off: Larry is divorced, has a huge, valuable collection of vinyl records, and he’s carrying a hefty mortgage on his nice suburban home. Do we really need to know all that? Not really. But Hanks and Roberts have charm, and they carry the film perfectly well, which is more than I can say about an awful lot of movies these days (I still can’t over the fact that “Transformers 3” was the worst cinematic experience I had to endure since “Revenge Of The Fallen” two years ago). Anyway, “Larry Crowne” marks Tom Hanks’ first work as a director since his delightful “That Thing You Do” hit theatres some 15 years ago. Hanks has matured, both mentally and physically, but he still demonstrates a clever instinct for calm, well paced scenes. Such class from such a wonderful actor.
In a year of superheroes and robots, “Larry Crowne” will most certainly appeal to a more mature audience. It’s a perfect summer romantic comedy for grown ups looking to escape all the usual crap. Critics may attack the film’s simplicity and optimism, but Hanks are Co are merely interested in making the target audience feel good about themselves. What’s wrong with that, haters?