Larry Crowne (2011) Poster

(2011)

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8/10
Larry Crowne is like organic wholemeal ciabatta.
Adrian Lim8 July 2011
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 voilà! 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.

Cheers.
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7/10
An enjoyable way to spend an hour & a half.....
Jake_III4 July 2011
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.
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7/10
Very good
ron-fernandez-pittsburgh16 December 2011
Why is the movie getting such a bad rap?? It's really a very charming film with wonderful acting by Hanks and Roberts as well as a very good support cast. While the plot itself is no great shakes, it's very interesting, especially in these times of disheavelment. I know a lot of people as well as critics don't like it. Amazed. It's a 'feel good' kind of movie with no villains. Maybe that's why it doesn't sell to the average movie goer who likes foul language, violence, special effects and fast paced editing with hand held cameras yet. This is an old fashioned movie that was made in the 50-60's, so it's not relevant today? Too bad. See this one and you won't be disappointed. AND DON'T READ THOSE UNKIND COMMENTS.
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8/10
A quite enjoyable film
Argemaluco3 September 2011
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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9/10
I left the theater feeling good about it
jerrywilson2 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
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.
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5/10
This French Toast needs some Spice!
David Ferguson2 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
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.
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9/10
It has the likableness that is Tom Hanks
DarkVulcan296 July 2011
I'm amazed that critics give a thumbs up to the incredible stupid film Bad Teacher, but give a thumbs down to the funny charming film Larry Crowne, go figure.

Larry Crowne(Tom Hanks), a middle aged man, who works at U-mart, and loves life and his job. But gets let go, when it gets discovered, that he never went college. So Larry does not know to do, his friend and neighbor(Cedric the Entertainer) tells him, that he should go to college. So Larry agrees, he signs up for some classes. Larry makes friends with some classmates, and also befriends his teacher named Mrs Tainot(Julia Roberts), who is uptight and cynical. But how will this all play out for Larry?

Tom Hanks is enjoyable as always, so was his directing. He never hogs the spotlight on himself too much, he lets every supporting person shine in there own way, all the actors seem relaxed with Hanks directing, and it shows in there performances. Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts have great chemistry. A great blend of comedy and drama, so if you want to get away from raunchiness, and see something light on it's feet, then Larry Crowne is that movie for you.
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3/10
awful movie!
shawn_and6 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I cannot believe the reviews I am reading for this movie! I would have walked out except I thought my friend was enjoying it, after leaving the theater I found out she did not like it as much as I did. From the beginning when Larry gets fired, it felt so stiff, acting and screenplay was not done well. He goes off to college, big surprise here! Meets young, hot girl who will change his appearance, and make him better looking when he was fine the way he was. All this movie promoted is what is wrong with America, change your looks to suit everyone else, foreclose on your home instead of paying your bills, divorce your husband and as he is getting pulled over for DUI laugh at him, etc. Hello, Julia Roberts is an alcoholic in the film and yet she and Hanks hook up and both of them have issues to work on, no chemistry at all between them. When they kissed it was so fake. It could have been so good, the right actors were there, loved the economics professor, when he was on screen it was the only time I got a good laugh.
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5/10
It's just so happy in it's mediocrity!
Hellmant11 July 2011
'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.

Watch our review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QlrJnwsHOM
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8/10
not a bad movie but somewhat slow
AccessCardRequired10 June 2011
Saw it at European premiere. Overall it is a nice comedy. Not for hard laughs, but a somewhat sentimental story about an excellent salesman who is fired, because he doesn't have a college degree. Hence he goes back to community college and ends up falling in love.

So far so good. The entire cast is good and Julia is excellent as a hard drinking disillusioned teacher. Tom's direction is a bit slow. So is the build up of the story. It seems to move endlessly among A story, B story trying to please everyone.

Tom decided on a strange, sepia colored 70s look for this one. It's so unreal, or maybe real, I quiet was turned off by it. I suppose for a mature adult audience in their mid 40s this one works. Teenagers will see the Transporter CGI nonsense, while their parents will have a good time with this love-comedy-drama story.
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9/10
Great movie full of positive energy
mgliu29 May 2015
I'm not a movie critic. But as a viewer, I truly appreciate the story of this movie. After 2008, many Americans lost their jobs, their homes and many struggle to keep their children in school, put food on the table. You've heard of the term tent city, where middle class family put up tents in parks so the children and family can sleep. It was a dark era. This movie took a different spin and use Larry Crowne, an admirable and honorable person with a positive attitude to keep on going and good things started to happen. He didn't end up with a better life in financial point of view but a truly happier person. It shows that life can be joyous and wonderful even when you just made end meets.

Frictional may it be, but it give everyone hopes and encouragement where we should all moving forward and be positive about life.

It's the message I like about the movie and the sweetness of the characters that I enjoyed.
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Forgettable
treeline118 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Tom Hanks stars a Larry Crowne, a happy, friendly, hard worker at a Target-like store who gets laid off because he never went to college. He enrolls in a community college, makes friends with a lot of young students, and is lucky enough to have a speech teacher played by Julia Roberts.

Co-written and directed by Hanks, this movie falls flat. It's good-natured and wholesome enough, but so innocuous and predictable that I fell asleep twice and rewatching it didn't help. From the moment Larry meets his stunningly beautiful teacher (who just happens to want out of a very bad marriage), you know everything is going to turn out happily, but the movie is so slow-moving, it seems to take forever to get to the end. Hanks comes across as an ideal man who likes and is liked by everybody; he plays his character effortlessly and is very good. Roberts plays against type by playing an unpleasant and unhappy woman, but you know she's going to be transformed by Larry's sweet Everyman persona. The young students who 'help' Larry adjust to college life are pushy and annoying and I never believed that he would befriend them.

All in all, this lightweight romantic comedy is just okay, because despite Hanks' best efforts, it's actually pretty dull.
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2/10
Eh?!
jonmccann28 October 2011
What is this film about?!? OK, a bloke loses his job and he is in the latter years of life....And er, he goes to school and thats it, oh wait, he meets an alcoholic teacher and they sort of get it on! There is no chemistry in this film because the script doesn't require it. I can imagine when the original idea was pitched, it made sense, but on screen, it has nothing. I was bored at 30 minutes, at an hour it was starting to get to a point, but of course its only 1hr 40, so i rightly figured the remaining 40 mins would be boring!! I love Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, in fact I also respect Bryan Cranston who has a bit part that he should regret, but simply put, if you don't have a decent story, don't stand up on set, this is the absolute example of that!!! Watch it on telly when it appears, but don't pay to see it, that would be a waste.
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a community college concerto in c+ minor
nutsberryfarm13 October 2013
on the surface this is a simple story we've heard before: man thinks he's going to win employee of the month award & gets the olé break room shakedown pulled on him and he finds himself without a job. sad? sure. tragic? maybe. too salty? of course. but i need more! and i got it. yes, it requires the viewer to put on their cinematic scuba gear & jump right into the world of community colleges, men wanting to be men, a diner run by a taskmaster with a dubious' tough but fair' philosophy. dangerous? sometimes. reminiscent of henrik ibsen's 'lady inger of ostrat'? no way, jose. at this point something starts to happen. you begin to hear: who is larry crowne? what is larry crowne? where is larry crowne? are scooter gangs really more scourge than scandal? what am i going to have for lunch today? those are called questions. and they float on the surface of time when you consider this movie which in scope & size & feel remind one of a fresh box of krispy kreme doughnuts on a slightly damp fall morning when the sun is playing a game of hide & seek with the clouds...and that's, well, crownetastic.
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3/10
This could have been a better movie.
marksez16 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This could have been a better movie. It has some good lines and a pleasant story. I could have bought into the Hollywood middle age guy fantasy of a 55 year old man who goes to college and is embraced by a group of sweet, nice looking twenty-somethings, and everyone loves him, and wants to take care of him while he has to deal with the challenges of life. Julia Robert's character ABSOLUTELY ruins the movie. There is nothing likable about this woman or redeeming about her story. She is bitter and unhappy throughout the movie. She is a lonely, miserable, angry, drunk. We are told that she teaches a class that "can change your life", but she shows no teaching skills or gift or interest in teaching. Even a "burnt out" teacher would know how to teach. In spite of her lack of teaching, somehow her speech class students rise from scared incompetent speakers to a great crescendo of achievement. NO WAY, Hozay. That's unbelievable, even for Hollywood. There is no good reason to include such a downer character in this story. Her character should have been an upbeat character, struggling with life's problems who joins Larry in his troubles, and they solve their problems together. She should have been someone we could love and root for. That would have made this an okay Tom Hanks movie. The movie is an unnecessary downer and goes no place. It coulda, shoulda been much better, Tom.
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7/10
'Hank'ering for a light-hearted recession flick...
Tiff Kim6 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, I'm just going to say it... I still LOVE Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in frivolous romantic comedies. I have to respect actors who know their niche in the industry and lovingly embrace it. Tom and Julia as covert operatives for the CIA? Ugh, box office disaster. But... Tom as an age-worn everyman struggling to stay competitive in today's ruthless economic climate and Julia as a slightly cantankerous and pessimistic junior college instructor whose outlook on life is just waiting to be converted by Tom's positivity and self-initiative? Golden.

This film stars Tom Hanks as Larry Crowne, a superlative retail sales employee who finds himself on the chopping block after a recent corporate overhaul on account of the completely non-relevant fact that he never attended college. Eager to gain some control over his rapidly unraveling life, he enrolls in a local community college where he meets Julia Roberts' character, a speech and communications instructor named Mercedes whose faith in public education and sobriety are both on shaky ground. The audience will have a great time commiserating with Larry and the financial woes that he struggles with: downsizing from a gas- guzzling sport utility vehicle to discovering the joys of motor-scooting across the expansive Valley, struggling to balance part-time work and classes, losing his home, to finally, losing his preconceived notions about what exactly constitutes a successful life.

Tom Hanks does a great job in keeping the thematic undercurrents of the movie from dragging us down too far -- his Larry Crowne character is delightfully innocent in this movie, seemingly unmarred by the bitterness and resentment that so often colors stories of the recent economic recession and its downtrodden, and exudes a type of go-with- the-flow positivity that I recall seeing in 'Forrest Gump.' Heck, he even gets the girl.... on a side-note, check out the actor who plays the economics professor in the fictional East Valley Community College. It's guaranteed to induce uncomfortable flashbacks about your own introductory weeder courses in college!

This movie was deliciously light and frothy, a sort of pared-down social commentary on how people need to adapt and keep adapting in these times, how fickle and unsympathetic the winds of change can be. The critics who call it trite and without substance can kiss my solid middle-class ass -- I found it to be a gentle reminder about how tough it is out there economically, and the message sat well with the audience I attended with, who weren't really interested in watching anything that hit too close to home.

Go watch this flick if you have the desire to watch an after-school special made for adults. Okay, so the likelihood that an unemployed, middle-aged man in LA would go back to school, ride with a scooter-gang, and develop an attraction for a hottie professor that was reciprocated is practically nil. We can't eat fiber all the time, right? At least this picture promotes staying positive in light of the crappy economy, and I was rooting for Larry Crowne from the second he started downsizing his life. Live long and prosper, everyone.
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4/10
Diasappointing
bsholley16 June 2012
I was look for a good snappy comedy, or at least, some fun romance. Neither here. Yeah, it's not awful, but who cares about any of the characters. Really, Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Nia (Greek wedding), ought to be able to put together something much better. When a man loses his job, he is usually devastated. Larry was mildly sad and surprised, but immediately went to work to find something else. Also, as a clerk in a big box store, how could he ever afford that house to begin with? But where did he get the money to go to school? Things seemed too easy. Yes, I know it was a movie, and a supposed comedy, but it just didn't work. The Julia Roberts character is so uni-dimensional, so flat. If she didn't have great legs and a pretty face there would be no point for her to be the one in the movie. Yes, disappointing.
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2/10
Zero conflict -- other than a serious discredit to community college instructors.
Robert Armstrong6 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Comedy authority Stan Freberg said once, and I agree, that humor needs to be based in reality. Unfortunately the reality that director-screenwriter-star Tom Hanks has constructed for himself here is that convenient target of community college as a collection of uninterested losers who try the instructors' patience to the extreme that he or she, much like leading-lady prof played by Julia Roberts, is angry, cynical -- yet at the same time apathetic -- and something of a tippler. Along comes Tom Hanks as Larry Crowne who, as a newly-unemployed middle-ager among the weeds of youth, somehow (osmosis?) introduces the unique perspective that age, intelligence and life experience can bring to continuing adult education.

As Larry/Hanks struggles with his early attempts in the class, that of conversational speechmaking, we see Julia Roberts' character roll her eyes upward and refine her growing contempt as the younger folk in the class give supposedly insubstantial talks such as shopping and comparing one Star Trek series to another. Well, what should they be doing instead? In the meantime the instructor herself, as far as the audience can see, contributes nothing.

Under the circumstances these kids are making a valiant, sincere effort. Okay, the one guy had crib notes written on the palm of his hand.

By the way -- has anyone else figured this out -- there is nothing unusual about older adults, intelligent or otherwise, who return to school and find the real, practical self-enrichment they seek. This falseness of the film's primary concept is an embarrassing display of how little Hanks, et al, grasp the everyday realities which, to the movie audience, are dirt-common.

I'd forgive any of the wrong turns taken in this film if it were funny. I didn't laugh once.

Subplot that Roberts' character's own marriage is deteriorating (gee I wonder why), other than making her available to LC as a love interest, has, like so many other story elements (the motor scooter "gang," the eternal garage sale next door, waste of George Takei's good character work as poor man's John Houseman in Larry's other class -- wasn't Larry supposed to be taking three classes?) little or no integration with rest of story.

Near end of picture Julia's character says to Larry/Hanks "You're a great student" and he says "You're a great teacher." No she isn't! The first and only time she shows the remotest interest in her job is five minutes before the final exam, when she has the students do a mild aerobic exercise to loosen up.

It is, rather, the very fact that community college instructors don't make much money and don't find intellectual gold at the end of all their hard work that we know that they do care. My impression, and I'm sure many will agree, is that, if a student gives the slightest indication that he or she is trying to learn, a community college instructor will bend over backwards to give that person an education.

Tom Hanks as director is out of touch with human society to a degree unprecedented since Kubrick in Eyes Wide Shut. One can only assume he agreed to this project as part of a deal to let him do something good next.

Turner and Hooch 2?

Will Hooch even return Hanks' phone calls after this?
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2/10
Very disappointed
nnampil3 July 2011
My wife and I went to see this movie last night and felt with these two stars how could they miss? They did, big time. It started off slow and then got slower. It was hard keeping your attention on the movie and I fell asleep about 30 minutes into it. I think Hanks should stick to acting and leave the writing and directing to someone else who has more experience in that area. We were not alone as two other couples came out of the theater after us and left as well. Their remarks outside were "what a disappointment" and "it's amazing how they can make a movie seem to be worth seeing from the advertising, I guess you can make anything seem like it will be good with the right stars". We walked out half way through! Boring.
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5/10
Too little of anything other than juvenile and cheap laughs
napierslogs1 July 2011
Tom Hanks is a nice guy. Larry Crowne is a nice guy. But as a movie, "Larry Crowne" is only somewhat likable. Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) is fired from his 9-time-employee-of-the-month job at U-Mart. Yes, we're supposed to feel sorry for him, and we do, but it's mostly played up for laughs. The most we get into the psychology or economics of the down-sizing is that "times change."

Determined to not be down-sized again, Larry is off to college, for the first time. This is the beginning of the end for the movie, because all the characters we meet at college are on the losing end of the need for cheap laughs. The college dean is obsessed with one of the teachers. Why? Because it provides a few laughs—that's the only reason. On his first day of classes, Larry meets Talia who is going to help Larry reinvent himself. Why would a likable guy like Larry allow a hippie college girl to teach him about life? There aren't even any real laughs with their relationship, so there's no reason at all. Talia then introduces Larry to a gang of scooter riders. Apparently they have all seen "West Side Story" (1961), but there's no way if you went to your local community college would you find that many kids so familiar with the movie.

Opposite Larry (in every sense of the word), is Mercy (Julia Roberts), an unhappy, alcoholic "teacher". I would classify her as one of the worst possible teachers. She claims that she wants her students to care and she wants to change their lives, but she doesn't actually want to teach. She doesn't want to show up on time for class, and she just sits there hung over. My biggest problem with "Larry Crowne" is that I'm pretty sure we were supposed to like and care for this creature. She's going through a divorce. But she's divorcing Dean (Bryan Cranston) and sure he's a lazy, lying has-been, but he made me laugh with every line he said. (But then again, I like Cranston so much I would probably even marry him as Walter White in "Breaking Bad").

When it's just Hanks and Roberts, playing off of each other, the movie is adorable and funny. Their chemistry is perfect, and that's exactly what "Larry Crowne" needs, but they don't give me enough of it. Hanks and Roberts one-on-one (even throw in Cranston and George Takei) and the movie would have been significantly better. An adult romantic comedy with minimal romance and PG-comedy is welcome and refreshing, but the romance was down-played too much and the comedy was too juvenile and not very funny.

The best part of the movie is George Takei playing the greatest and funniest economics professor you could ever imagine. He was given enough time, but again, only for laughs, there's just so little reason for anything occurring.
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1/10
Wow, did it STINK!
Casablanca37844 July 2011
How's it possible to team up two of Hollywood's biggest stars, Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts and come out with a really lousy movie? Beats me but Universal Pictures, Vendome Pictures and Playtone Productions certainly did. The storyline was pathetic and Hanks annoyed the living hell out of me chugging around on a quasi-moped to save gas money while wearing a crash helmet and maintaining throughout the movie a squinty grimace that indicated his jockey shorts could have been two sizes two small. Julia Roberts's acting indicated she never wanted to be in the film to begin with. After subjecting myself to this picture, equivalent to self-flagellation, I regret that Hanks ever got home from being a "Castaway."
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1/10
Hollywood Scooter Propaganda
firefoxpies-139-63567629 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Strange film, designed to get middle America guilty over their mini-vans and SUV's. Don't let any of the positive reviews fool you, or sway you to waste 2 hours of your precious time on this horror, a patchwork of absurd, obtuse, and manipulative sequences and characters, including a very convenient perky, attractive young coed who mysteriously obsesses over Tom Hanks' ditzy old dude characters' every move. Valderrama shows up, fresh from his PUNK'D appearance as a screaming girl, to hold sway over the scooter people and look lovingly into Tom Hanks eyes. Absolutely nothing is real, authentic or human in this movie, including Julia Roberts ooey-gooey cement face in close-up after close-up. BS movie experience, Truly a WTF??!!
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7/10
Larry Crowne - a pleasant surprise
Carolyn C24 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Larry Crowne was a charming movie that catches you by surprise until you find yourself smiling by the end. A simple but meaningful plot causes some character transformations during the course of the film. Admittedly this movie did get off to a slow start and after an hour I just started to really enjoy it, especially during the turning point when Mercedes (played by Julia Roberts) realizes that her husband who is a self-employed and self-professed narcissistic (ex-professor turned) blogger/writer/chronic pornaholic is just not worth the trouble which signals the end of her marriage. At the beginning of the movie she is a bitter, depressed English/Communications professor that hates her job and drowns herself in alcohol. Then she meets Larry Crowne who little by little changes her life as she does the same for him.

Larry (played by Tom Hanks) gets downsized at the start of the movie supposedly because he doesn't have a college degree. After being in the navy for 20 years, he did not have time to go back to school and after getting advice from his neighbour Lamar (played by Cedric the Entertainer) he decides to enroll in Community College. He meets a young girl and a group of riders (on scooters) who become his friends. This same young lady gives him a new wardrobe, haircut and rearranges his house and his perspective on life. However, the first indication that Mercedes is interested in Larry is when she sees the two together and instantly gets jealous. She gets equally upset when he misses one of her classes. When she is stranded in the middle of the street at night after she exits her husband's car after a fight, Larry comes to her rescue. She allows him to take her home reluctantly and they have a ridiculously awkward kiss to the viewers but magical for them. Of course, they can't act on their emotions because of the teacher/student relationship so Mercedes appears disinterested and expresses this to Larry.

After the final presentation in class everyone falls in love with Larry. Mercedes awards him an A+ and goes to the diner where he works to give him the news and suggest her availability, as she is no longer his teacher. The pair inevitably gets together. Larry also does extremely well his first semester at school. He aces his Economics class, which also gives him the knowledge to handle his debt and sell his house. All in all, this movie had a good message and the characters all find redemption at the end. These two main actors still have what it takes to pull off a good movie and they have great on screen chemistry.

I give this movie 7 stars!
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5/10
Tom Hanks said "Hey Gang, let's put on a show!"
Greg Smith2 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
ONE LINE REVIEW : Tom Hanks said "Hey Gang, let's put on a show!"

RATING : Wait for the Instant Download

(Ratings: "See it in the theater", "Wait for the Instant Download", "Don't Bother")

NO SPOILERS

Tom Hanks starred in, directed, and co-wrote this film (with friend Nia Vardalos "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"). It's the story of an incredibly likable Larry Crowne (Hanks) who gets fired from his WalMart-type job because he has no degree, and hence no future. He tries to refinance his house but the banker (Hank's wife, Rita Wilson - who is still hot) turns him down cold. Larry enrolls in a local college where he takes a public speaking course with teacher Mercedes (Mercy) Tainot (Julia Roberts). Larry befriends young classmate Talia (the effervescent, fresh-faced Gugu Mbatha-Raw). Mercy is unhappily married to porn- surfing, self-published Dean Tainot (Bryan Cranston). She takes a disliking to Larry because she thinks he is dating Talia. And our relationships are now set.

Larry makes friends with all the scooter-riding kids at school and they in turn revamp him from a nerd into a quasi-cool guy. They feng-shui his house, his hair, and his wardrobe. Larry is tops in in Dr. Matsutani's (George Takei) economics class. And he gets wisdom from his neighbor (Cedric the Entertainer) who has a perpetual yard sale going on.

This is almost a text-book case of romantic comedy. Except that as a protagonist, Larry is very non-descript. He has no apparent flaws. He has no strong desires. He seems to move haplessly through the film letting all the swirl of the other characters just happen.

And perhaps that is precisely what is happening. Tom Hanks is (arguably) the nicest guy in Hollywood. It's like we're looking in on Tom Hanks breaking in a new crowd of up-and-comers by showing them the ropes in the least-complicated movie of all time. In a lot of ways I felt like this was a call back to the old "Smoky and the Bandit" days when Burt Reynolds would make a film by shooting home movies with his buddies and current girlfriend.

Julia Roberts never disappoints. Her character is very thinly drawn but she adds enough of that Julia Roberts charm to pull it off - those flirty smiles cast casually over the shoulder. But, sadly, she could have played any of a half-dozen characters from her impressive resume and just dropped those performances into the middle of this film and no one would be the wiser. Hmm… maybe that's just what happened?

This is a Nice Little Film. At my theater it was clearly the favorite of the over-fifty crowd. There's not a lot of meat to it and the major plot turns are easy to spot and not surprising. If you like Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, you'll like this film. And George Takei is hilarious as the economics professor. But save the $10 ticket and just rent it at home. You'll get the same effect.
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8/10
Connects easily with the public
tub514615 December 2015
This movie is simply a movie in which Tom Hanks wrote, directed, and acted in, not for pure entertainment value. There's some humor in it, but the ultimate goal is that it's strictly written as a means to connect with anyone who has ever been cut from a job which paid the bills, paid the mortgage, paid the student loans, paid any car loans, etc. then nothing, no job, credit is overdrawn, house, car, & lucky if they don't lose their shirt. It's the way of the world for the last 10 years and that's Tom Hanks' message to the audience: How can we adjust to this sudden hole in our lives? Well, the movie subtly gives you a lot of answers. If you ever been out of your element, then you'll enjoy this film.
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