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Larry Crowne

Larry Crowne

Genders: Romance, Drama, Comedy

Director: Tom Hanks

Writer: Tom Hanks, Nia Vardalos

Actors: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Sarah Mahoney, Roxana Ortega

Year: 2011
Run time: 1h 38min
IMDB score: 5.9
Updated: 5 years ago

Movie infomation

Movie name: Larry Crowne

Genders: Romance, Drama, Comedy

Imdb Score: 5.9

Runtime: 1h 38min

Released: 01 Jul 2011

Director: Tom Hanks

Writer: Tom Hanks, Nia Vardalos

Actors: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Sarah Mahoney, Roxana Ortega

Box Office: $35.6M

Company: Universal Pictures


Imdb Link

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Larry Crowne is like organic wholemeal ciabatta.

8/10 While I was scrolling through the different titles available this weekend, I chanced upon "Larry Crowne". Looked it up on IMDb; not so good - an average of 5/10. Scroll down further and voila! Written by Tom Hanks himself, gotta see it. And I'm glad I did.

First, let me get the 'acting' part out of the way - It's good. Not mind-blowing, but most certainly good enough to be worth the US$9 weekend price of a movie ticket here in Singapore. The actors were good enough that I felt connected, and that's as good as it ever has to be.

As for the plot - nothing jaw-droppingly complicated and twisted, but then again neither was Forest Gump. And what a big success that movie proved to be. Don't expect character development to blow you away, but it did, at the very least, impress me.

Of course, if you walk into the theater expecting "Harold & Kumar" or "Chuck & Larry" humor, you would most definitely be sorely disappointed. Some others have criticized the film, saying that it had "cheap laughs" at best. Now that isn't necessarily true, because it all depends on what your expectations are.

So hear this - Larry Crowne isn't an all-out-LOL-fest, it's a wholesome film sprinkled with subtle, clever, and thoughtful humor.

In my opinion, this film was an excellent cross-section representation of the sandwiched American Middle-class - too rich to qualify for welfare, too poor to save any money. Most people (outside the United States) wouldn't know the America shown throughout this film - where folks are priced out of their own states, where they attend community colleges that aren't crazy over keg parties and crawling with bikini-straddling blonds, where students have to juggle work and school, where they might have to choose the former over the latter too often.

Hollywood glamorizes the American lifestyle each and every chance it gets, and this film provides a rare glimpse into the real America where most people reside.

All things considered, I would consider this film a feel-good movie, and there's much more to it than meets the eye. If you enjoyed Forest Gump, you'd most likely enjoy this one - even if the feel-goodness sets in slightly more subtly.

One final thing - I've never written a review for any movie before, ever. But I felt that the reviews here (as of 9th July 11) were doing Larry Crowne such injustice that I had to write this to balance it out.


5 years ago

A quite enjoyable film

8/10 Back in 1996, Tom Hanks made his debut as a director with the mediocre That Thing You Do!. Now, 15 years later, he decided to make his second movie as a filmmaker with Larry Crowne, which despite not being something brilliant, kept me very entertained, and I appreciated its intention of recovering a honest, kind and inoffensive style of comedy, which seems extinct nowadays.

The publicity of Larry Crowne suggests the film is a typical romantic comedy; however, the truth is that the screenplay aspired to something more complicated, which does not exactly fit into the romantic formula, but which neither stays very far from its established subjects. Let's say that the couple meets, falls in love...and nothing else. There are not any lachrymose revelations nor unexpected twists; we simply have the gradual revelation of compatible spirits whose attraction with each other is not exactly physical or sexual, but the result of solitary lives who might improve a little bit with some intimate contact. Besides, I guess that the relaxed ending might disappoint to those who were expecting a big romantic gesture, or a declaration of eternal love. However, I liked that minimalistic tone, as well as the pleasant humor which rounds around this passive love story.

But that is not all, because parallel to the incipient romance, we witness the main character's evolution...with which the screenplay also takes a very interesting road. Larry Crowne is not one of those movies about the "loser" who becomes a "winner" thanks to the magic of love, the popularity or the use of phrases such as "be yourself". The main character is the same person on the beginning and at the end of the movie; but the things he lives introduce subtle changes in his attitude, his comprehension of the world, and even his nature, leaving us the impression that his evolution is just starting. And now that I think so, I guess that that is the point from the movie: sowing the seeds of the change of the main character and making us to imagine his future flowering.

As for the performances, I do not have any complaints either. Hanks makes a solid work in the leading role, and I also liked the work from the supporting cast, highlighting Cedric The Entertainer, Malcolm Barrett and George Takei. Finally...Julia Roberts, who co-stars the movie with Hanks. I am not a big fan of hers, because there were various films in which I did not like her performances (two examples: Erin Brockovich and Dying Young). However, there have been a few occasions in which she was able to bring competent works, like in Larry Crowne. Her "Hollywood star" status never interferes with her performance in here, which I found honest, detailed and totally credible.

The complaint I have against Larry Crowne is that some scenes feel a bit repetitive. For the rest, I enjoyed this film pretty much despite not being something excellent, and I think it deserves a recommendation because of its many positive elements.

5 years ago

This French Toast needs some Spice!

5/10 Greetings again from the darkness. I view Tom Hanks as one of the all-time giants among movie actors. He is true Hollywood royalty. When I heard he was producing, directing, co-writing and starring in a new film, I assumed it was his first step in becoming the new Clint Eastwood. Sadly, Mr. Hanks broke the number rule of movie-making: have a point to make or a story to tell. What we get is a 1980's flashback when mainstream movies could be successful just by putting nice people on screen.

And nice people is what we get. Tom Hanks plays the ultimate nice guy as Larry Crowne. Crowne is the type who attracts nice people and makes them even nicer. Even when he loses his job, we never doubt that this nice guy will land on his feet and even be better off eventually. Oh no you don't ... stop trying to guess the ending! Other nice people are ... EVERY STUDENT in the speech class taught by Ms. Roberts, the L.A. scooter club that recruits Crowne, the Marine owner of a diner who hires Crowne, the lottery-winning neighbors of Crowne and the dean of students at the community college. The nicest one of all is Talia, played delightfully by Gugu Mbatha-Raw (from the awful "Undercovers" show that lasted less than one season).

The closest thing to a bad guy is Roberts' husband played by Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad). His fault? He is a bit lazy (after writing two books) and he likes to look at swimsuit models on the internet. Sure, when the movie starts, Ms. Roberts character is at her lowest. She clearly drinks too much to mask her misery, though it's never clear just why she is so miserable.

But this is not a movie about conflict or tension or anything not nice ... even though it begins with a nice guy getting laid off from his job. The story and screenplay are co-written by Hanks and Nia Vardalos. You will remember her as the creative force behind the gem "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". Unfortunately, this film is nowhere close to the level of that one.

If Mr. Hanks' goal is to become an important filmmaker in the vein of Clint Eastwood, or even Frank Capra, he will need to study the films that have made him rich and famous. Or at least study the best screwball comedies or rom-coms. A good movie must have CONFLICT! There needs to be something that creates interest for the viewer. Simple, bland, generic, nice, likable and swell can all play a part ... but they can't be EVERY part! My two favorite things about the film are George Takei and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Mr. Takei (of Star Trek fame) provides some of the few laughs in the film as a very meticulous Economics professor. His voice and mannerisms inspire us to smile and ultimately laugh outloud. Gugu is just terrific as the idealistic free-spirit who transforms Crowne and lights up her every scene. Can't wait to see what she does next.

As you might expect, supporting actors lined up to work with Hanks and Julia. Among those not mentioned above are Cedric the Entertainer and Taraji B. Henson (Crowne's neighbors), Wilmer Valderrama (Gugu's boyfriend), Rita Wilson (the mortgage officer), Pam Grier (professor), Grace Gummel (Meryl Streep's daughter as the 'pasta' speech student), and it's always nice to see Bob Stevenson on screen. He is one of the more underutilized deadpan comedic talents around.

There is little doubt that this film will find an audience. An audience that demands little from a movie. There is nothing wrong with two hours of back-slapping and giddy smiling ... as long as you get a story to go along with it.

5 years ago

An enjoyable way to spend an hour & a half.....

7/10 To begin, I'm not sure what some of the other reviewers expected to see in this film. Larry Crowne is not a sizzling drama, a fast paced action movie, or an over-the-top comedy, & it's not likely to win a bunch of Oscars for acting, screenplay or anything else for that matter. What is is, however, is a well written, fun movie that is fairly well acted & very enjoyable.

The story does take a little bit to unfold, but does so in an organic way as not to give away too much too soon. The cast was well chosen & I found the characters to have been well developed & really fun people. Like most other films, there is certainly some creative license taken in that most everybody in it is funny and likable, which is what you want from a film like this. If only reality were filled with such great people, we should all be so lucky.

There are a few loose ends that may have been stitched up a bit better (per several of the reviews I have read) but I'm not sure that was necessary at all to the story. Moviegoers these days seem to have a need for everything to be spelled out to the Nth degree. If it wasn't critical for the story to unfold, it didn't make its way into the picture. There's something to be said for movies that leave a bit to the imagination for the viewer after the film is over, Keeps you thinking about it for awhile after you've left your seat.

I would watch it again. I left feeling good, with a smile on my face, which is what I was after upon deciding to watch it.

5 years ago

I left the theater feeling good about it

9/10 I love Tom Hanks and I love his directing style. That Thing You Do remains one of my favorite movies ever and this film, Larry Crowne, has the same feel about it, though the subject matter is completely different.

I didn't expect too much before watching the movie because of the lukewarm reception by some of the critics. But I have learned not to rely too heavily on professional reviewers because I so often disagree with them. To me, a film is successful if it is satisfying. If there is one word to describe Larry Crowne it is satisfying - in a feel-good sort of way.

This is not Hanks' greatest film, but it doesn't set out to be. It accomplishes what Hanks seems to have set out to do. It tells a story about a man who, after getting a divorce and then being fired from his job, has to cope with reevaluating his life and reshuffling his priorities. I like the way it didn't revert to the banal going-into- deep-depression and feeling-sorry-for-myself modes. Hanks' character takes the next logical step to being fired for not having enough education and signs up for college. And he succeeds brilliantly at it.

Julia Roberts plays one of his college professors who is struggling with burn out and a dysfunctional marriage. She nails the character, Mrs. Tainot, beautifully. But the best supporting character is played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw. She is gorgeous but in a cute way, not in a runway model way. She plays the free spirited, scooter-riding college friend who takes over without asking and proceeds to do a make-over on Crowne. It works, though, as Crowne's image is substantially improved by her wardrobe and hair style changes on him.

I won't give away the ending, but there are no surprises here. You wouldn't expect one from a Tom Hanks film. There's nothing cutting edge about it either. But despite one or two plot turns that force you to suspend your disbelief for a fraction of a second (such as actually getting fired after years as a successful employee because your boss feels your lack of education is hurting your potential to be promoted), the film succeeds. There are no cringe moments, no vulgarity (I don't even think it used its one-allowed, obligatory F-word), and no tedious scenes of theatrical irony. It's just a simple, entertaining, feel-good movie that makes you happy. And sometimes, that's what a movie should be.

5 years ago