Larry Crowne (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner29/06/2011

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 99 mins

The sheer star power of Hanks and Roberts ensures that this is never less than watchable, but the plot is weak, the script isn't as funny as it should have been and it's hard to escape the feeling that this is a essentially a small-scale indie project whose deficiencies are magnified by the presence of its A-list cast.

What's it all about?
Directed by Tom Hanks (who co-wrote the script with My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos), Larry Crowne stars Tom Hanks as, er, Larry Crowne, a divorced U-Mart employee whose life changes when he suddenly gets made redundant. Ditching all his expensive possessions in order to stay afloat, Larry decides to sign up for a public-speaking class at the nearby community college, where his zippy new scooter attracts the attention of friendly, free-spirited classmate Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who quickly takes him under her wing.

At the same time, Tom, sorry, Larry finds himself with a crush on his permanently grumpy, secret booze-swilling teacher “Miss” Tainot (Julia Roberts), who has her own problems at home with her porn-surfing loser husband Dean (Bryan Cranston). Could a ride on Larry's scooter put the smile back on her face?

The Good
Tom Hanks is his usual charming, likeable self and his presence alone is enough to ensure that the film remains watchable. In addition, it's fun to see Julia Roberts playing mean, grumpy and a bit messed up for once (she's actually a worse teacher than Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher) and there's strong support from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, George Takei (as another tutor) and Cedric The Entertainer as Larry's neighbour-slash-best friend Lamar.

The Bad
That said, the film completely wastes talented performers like Bryan Cranston, Taraji P Henson, Wilmer Valderrama and - most egregious of all - Pam Grier, by casting them in promising-looking supporting roles but giving them nothing interesting to do (a fight between Larry and Dean would have been interesting, for example).

The trite script throws up every wish-fulfilment fantasy imaginable (you get the strong suspicion that Larry's relationship with Talia was originally more complex) but still feels under-developed and never convinces on an emotional level. Similarly, the comedy moments frequently fall flat and it's hard to escape the feeling that this is ultimately a scrappy indie story that would have been better served by a less starry cast.

Worth seeing?
Larry Crowne is never less than watchable thanks to likeable performances from Hanks and Roberts but it's neither as funny or as emotionally engaging as it should have been.

Film Trailer

Larry Crowne (12A)
Larry Crowne has been reviewed by 1 users
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Content updated: 19/07/2018 18:01

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