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Until he was downsized, affable, amiable Larry Crowne (Hanks) was a superstar team leader at the big-box company where he's worked since his time in the Navy. Underwater on his mortgage and unclear on what to do with his suddenly free days, Larry heads to his local college to start over. There he becomes part of a colorful community of outcasts, also-rans and the overlooked all trying to find a better future for themselves...often moving around town in a herd of scooters. In his public-speaking class, Larry develops an unexpected crush on his teacher Mercedes Tainot (Roberts), who has lost as much passion for teaching as she has for her husband. The simple guy who has every reason to think his life has stalled will come to learn an unexpected lesson: when you think everything worth having has passed you by, you just might discover your reason to live. Written by
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.
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