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Larry Crowne
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Larry Crowne More at IMDbPro »

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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Diasappointing

4/10
Author: bsholley from United States
16 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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25 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

Zero conflict -- other than a serious discredit to community college instructors.

2/10
Author: Robert Armstrong from Chicago IL, United States
6 July 2011

*** This review may contain 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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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

This could have been a better movie.

3/10
Author: marksez from United States
16 June 2012

*** This review may contain 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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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Hollywood Scooter Propaganda

1/10
Author: firefoxpies-139-635676
29 April 2012

*** This review may contain 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 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

'Hank'ering for a light-hearted recession flick...

7/10
Author: Tiff Kim from United States
6 July 2011

*** This review may contain 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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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Forgettable

Author: potato2
18 January 2012

*** This review may contain 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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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

a community college concerto in c+ minor

Author: nutsberryfarm from san diego
13 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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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Larry Crowne - a pleasant surprise

7/10
Author: Carolyn C (lyncorr@gmail.com) from Trinidad & Tobago
24 September 2011

*** This review may contain 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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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Tom Hanks said "Hey Gang, let's put on a show!"

5/10
Author: Greg Smith from Richmond, VA
2 July 2011

*** This review may contain 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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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Wasted Potential

4/10
Author: Carl White (moovemkr) from United States
6 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The problem with this movie is that the producer, writer and star of this movie obviously has not had too many average guy problems in his life in quite a while.

Its hard to sympathize with Larry Crowne, and the movie only works if you do, when everything seems to come so easy for him.

Go back to school, here are the classes you should take that will change your life, do you want to be our friends, do you want to kiss me, do you want a job that works with your schedule, dump the house and mortgage, its OK, your neighbors will sell your stuff and then you can go start a new life with a hot teacher.

I do realize its a romantic comedy with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, we pretty much already know how it ends before we walk in the theatre but there is simply no struggle and almost zero conflict that would make you pull for the guy.

Tom Hanks has said in interviews he wanted to play "this kind of guy", its just that he seems to have no idea what "this kind of guy" really goes through in life.

Its like he and Nia Vardalos in writing the movie could come up with ideas to solve problems they perceive he would encounter without actually showing him struggle with any of the problems because they had no idea what that struggle would be.

It would be like asking someone like Larry Crowne in real life to make a movie about the pitfalls and struggles of being very rich and famous. He would only be guessing and would not really know the real issues and struggles.

The bottom line is that this movie had so much potential and it was wasted. Tom should have wrote this movie with a talented but struggling and hungry screenwriter and the results would have probably turned out much better.

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