British retirees travel to India to take up residence in what they believe is a newly restored hotel. Less luxurious than its advertisements, the Marigold Hotel nevertheless slowly begins to charm in unexpected ways.
Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980.
Monty Wildhorn, an alcoholic novelist of Westerns, has lost his drive. His nephew pushes him to Summer in quiet Bell Isle. He begrudgingly befriends a newly single mom and her 3 girls who help him find the inspiration to write again.
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
'LARRY CROWNE': Two and a Half Stars (Out of Five)
Tom Hanks directs his second feature film (after 1996's 'THAT THING YOU DO'). He also co-wrote the screenplay with Nia Vardalos (the writer and star of 'MY BIG FAT Greek WEDDING', which Hanks produced) and stars in the film with Julia Roberts. With all that high caliber A list talent attached you'd think the film would be something special (especially for a summer release) but it's not. It's just an average romantic comedy with nothing witty, new or original to offer. There are a few laughs and touching moments but for the most part the film is mediocre at best.
Hanks plays the title role of Larry Crowne, a humble and well liked employee of a successful retail store who suddenly finds himself laid off when the store has to resort to downsizing in order to maintain high profits. Although he was extremely good at his job (and employee of the month nine times) he's let go due to his lack of college experience. Forced to sell his house and his car to get by he decides to go back to school in order to better himself and improve his chances of finding employment. Once at school he finds new friends in fellow outcasts and develops a crush on his speech teacher Mercedes Tainot (Roberts). Mrs. Tainot has lost all passion in her job and love for her porn addicted husband (Bryan Cranston) and finds inspiration in Larry. Larry of course finds new inspiration in life (as well) as his whole world begins to change.
The film is funny at times (nothing laugh out loud but it is mildly amusing) and it's also inspirational to a certain extent (but nothing we haven't seen before). With Hanks and Roberts starring in the film you just expect an attempt at something more at least. It just feels so happy in it's mediocrity, which is a little bizarre coming from what appears to be a big summer movie (at first glance) with two of Hollywood's biggest stars in the leads. I loved Hank's first directorial effort, 'THAT THING YOU DO', and it's actually one of my favorite films of his. So knowing he has so much more to offer makes this all the more disappointing. Not a bad film just very far from a good one.
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