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|Index||166 reviews in total|
This is an undemanding comedy which is as good a way as any to pass an hour or so. Where I must take issue with other reviewers is that I felt there was a complete lack of chemistry between Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts - they make a most unlikely couple. I can only surmise that the main reason that Tom Hanks decided to make this film to give him an excuse to snog Julia Roberts (for which you can attach no blame to him whatsoever!). Ms Roberts, as usual, turns in a delightful performance, until the last couple of scenes where she goes over-the-top with the smiling, as if to signal to the viewer that she is having a lot to put up with. The scenes with her dissolute husband (Bryan Cranston)prove her acting ability (in case anyone doubted it). Overall, a reasonable film - essential viewing for Julia Roberts fans, but Tom Hanks fans have probably seen it all before.
The Movie was not great, but the character Talia was so adorable in the movie that it made it bearable to watch. Julia Roberts AWFUL spends her time yelling at students and her husband who is not thrilled that she drinks too much and is not well endowed in the upper body. Tom Hanks character was a fun loving guy down on his luck after losing his job and re enrolls in school so he doesn't get overlooked on job promotions due to his lack of education. This could hit home to a lot of people that this may have happened to. Glad I didn't spend the money at the movies to watch but watched it on HBO. Made me definitely want to go out and purchase a Vespa. And to drink a Margarita...
I thought this movie was terrible. As few films as Hanks and Roberts do
now, why on earth would they pick this movie to waste their time in!
Absolutely terrible story where nothing happens.
Hanks plays Larry, a guy that goes back to college to improve employment opportunities. Roberts plays his speech teacher, Mercy, whom seems to barely want to do her job. It's easy to see where this is going even if Mercy is married. They have her husband be some kind of lazy, porn watcher, to be a good reason for their breakup.
Then a young college student is thrown in that befriends Larry and invites him to join a scooter club? Just boring and this wasn't funny in the least.
FINAL VERDICT: Don't waste time on this.
The opening credits of this movie were great! Names fly by as Larry
Crowne (Hanks) is picking up garbage, stocking shelves with a smile,
and cleaning puke off a mechanical horsey which instantly makes it easy
to like the hard-working Crowne. As the credits finish the "powers that
be" call in Hanks for a talk. The leadership team of the store informs
Crowne he doesn't have the schooling for promotion and fire him. It is
easy to relate with the frustration and bewilderment of Crowne as he
ponders his next step.
Sadly the movie bogs down and loses steam. Not a lot happens and it takes a long time for it to happen. Hanks and Roberts save the movie from being painfully slow and move my classification to tolerable.
The weirdest part of the movie was Crowne's friendship with the motor bike gang leader Talia. For some random reason Talia adopts Crowne as a missing father figure/lost puppy/charity case thing. It's weirdly flirtatious, mostly pointless, and never explained. My guess is Talia gave the movie a legitimate way to make-over Crowne from lame department manager to the hip achieve your dreams American dream Crowne.
This is a feel good, romantic comedy that you can skip.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I am a Tom Hanks fan (Julia Roberts, not so much, but then I don't have the necessary Y chromosome). So I was ready to like this little film. I didn't expect much from it, but what I got was less than I expected. Wooden dialogue, unbelievable situations and characters and relationships, and one the worst-ever representations of teaching and the classroom environment. I am a teacher, so perhaps I was particularly sensitive to the clumsy efforts to show what it is like to work in a classroom. Julia Roberts' character a great teacher who changes lives for the better? Not really. Try drunk, cynical, angry, disaffected and generally unpleasant and ornery. You would have to be still blissed out from Pretty Woman to see anything redeeming in her. A final consisting of a two minutes' speech on potatoes? I hope not. The George Takei character was another unbelievable cardboard figure. The film both wants to say something sincere and real about the economic downturn and wants to entertain us on a very superficial level. In trying to do both, it fails at both.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Basically I agree with Jake III about this film. If people expect
broad, slapstick humour, this is the wrong film for them. I realise I'm
in the minority here, but a friend and I went to see this film as a way
of ignoring a dull, rainy Friday evening, and we loved this film.
What I particularly liked was the way that, after the initial sacking, there was a gentle re-orientation as we are introduced to the characters and the situations they find themselves in. Tom Hanks manages to be funny while still retaining a degree of dignity in defeat. Hanks also made Larry's gradual re-evaluation of his life engaging, and it was relief that the film DIDN'T end with a magical win on the lottery, or some other unlikely return to financial security.
Julia Roberts' performance reminded me that she can really act and that she has a nicely nuanced touch for comedy. The second leads were also engaging, though the neighbour with the permanent garage sale seemed to come from a broader genre. The young actors playing the Afro-Latino couple made the most of their opportunities.
Settings: for once we were spared the sight of middle-to-low earners living in improbably luxurious surroundings. The locations had been well thought out and according to Tom Hanks' website, Larry's scooter was the genuine beaten-up article.
Maybe the fact that I'm of an age to know a bit about enforced mid-life changes helps, but I really liked this movie and think it deserves a better rating.
Reading some of the reviews before hand left me wondering how bad this movie might be. I do like both Hanks and Roberts so was willing to see it anyway. I was actually pleasantly surprised at the film. The people who didn't like it either didn't understand the message, or were too busy expecting it to be something it wasn't. The mistake people make going into this is thinking it is just supposed to be some love story. It's really so much more than this. Both main characters learned valuable lessons about life, and about who they are, and what they need to do to go forward, and how they can start anew. Well written, directed and acted. The characters were real and the film really got into the sincerity of them. I enjoyed my experience immensely. I give it an 8 of 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The current comedy fad is heavy on sex and toilet jokes, to the point
of being grotesque. But there are a lot of people who laugh at anything
that's gross, even it it's not intended to be funny. I'm sure there's
some psychology about that. Unfortunately I am not among them. Gross is
gross, not funny, unless the actors are very good comedians (Robin
Williams, Jim Carey...) and know how to make gross funny. So I don't
mind comedies that attempt to give us an alternative.
Unfortunately Larry Crowne wasn't a very funny movie either. Maybe because it wasn't really a comedy, but more of a light-hearted romance. It did have its redeeming values, a quality lacking severely in Hollywood these days.
Hanks plays Larry Crowne, who is a middle-aged divorcée struggling to pay for his house and a divorce settlement working at a retail store. I had to wonder how he ended up working for so long at a retail store at that age. Surely it wasn't a career decision. But in context his character and situation does explain it: he was in the Navy for 20 years and has no college education, so by the time he entered the work force this was the best he could get. And he did very well at it because he's a kind-hearted man who likes his job no matter how little it pays, and doesn't seem to mind any lack of vertical growth.
The store executives didn't think the same way, and when they had to start cutting back they began plucking employees who had no college education that would offer them chances for advancement. And so he was canned. It was all an excuse of course. Normally companies don't care so much if you don't advance through the ranks, as long as you are doing a good job.
In reality they did him a favor. This character was optimistic in nature and "settled" with the changes life forced upon him with no fight at all. That trait is both his strength and his weakness. While you can enjoy the life you have, you aren't going to make a lot of advancements in it if you don't stand up for yourself and try to build. If you settle, you can stagnate, unless you get lucky. Larry Crowne didn't get lucky, and he paid the price. Maybe that's why his wife left him?
So off to college he goes, part time, and Julia Roberts plays the teacher of his "informal communication and speech" class, Mercedes Tainot. She is in a horrid relationship with a man who cares more about babes with big boobs than managing his relationship. He basically sits at home all day looking at porn and uses "being a man" as an excuse for his sloth and neglect. He's every woman's worst nightmare, and Tainot being an intelligent woman this relationship seemed to have been made in hell.
I thought it was bad advice for Larry Crowne to have taken her class. WIth what little money he had left, and so little time before he lost his house, I think he could have found some better classes to beef up his education. But it's ultimately Larry Crowne's romance with Mrs. Tainot, who is obviously going to leave her worthless husband, that made the movie interesting. The movie's failure is that it seemed to take forever just to get the romance started.
Hanks, who directed the movie, seems to have taken his queues from Nora Ephron, with whom Hanks worked on several occasions: Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail, the latter on which I had the pleasure of working as an extra. Ephron can direct light-hearted romances and sweet-but-intelligent character movies in her sleep... Probably her most famous product being When Harry Met Sally.
Ephron's delivery isn't always strong though, and Tom Hanks didn't pull his movie off well either.
As a romance it didn't spend enough time developing his relationship with Julia Roberts, whose smile can still brighten the room like a sunrise, and who can act rings around a majority of actors in the business when she is in the right role. In fact a lot of screen time was spent on Roxana Ortega's character, a ridiculously forceful young woman Larry Crowne meets in college who changes his life in all the most superficial ways. It almost seemed as though she was intended as a red herring -- a character he'd get mixed up with romantically because she is his exact opposite in personality. But there was no relationship. He was more like her victim than her friend, and aside from Mrs. Tainot misunderstanding it, it had nothing to do with the story. The changes Ortega's character forced upon Crowne didn't help him win Tainot, although she steered him in her direction once (almost literally) and her in his direction. But she could have done this with much less time spent on screen.
Hanks is apparently a huge scooter buff these days, and centered the movie around scootering. He makes a good point: it's a cheap alternative to SUVs in a time when so many people are suffering from job loss. But I found no value in the Ortega scooter gang he falls into. They did nothing fun, said nothing funny, and seemed to waste a lot of precious story time. I wondered how he got his studying done.
Other characters in the movie were a little to quirky for my taste, and not funny either.
So I give it a 6 out of 10, and a respectful nod to Tom Hanks for a good try, but this is a very talented man and I think he can do better.
I find myself wondering if Nia Vardalos ever listened to a man who
disagreed with her. This movie's dialog reeks of her odd sensibilities,
the sort that manifest in terrible unsolicited advice and uproarious
laughter at anything resembling a Cathy comic strip.
The height of this misappreciation for male behavior comes in a scene which should have had an intense amount of tension, with Julia Roberts and Bryan Cranston, both drunk, fighting in their car. Any movie willing to have Bryan Cranston loudly proclaim his love for big knockers has flown right off the rails. I would accuse the movie of sexism, but then I realize most of the characters prove equally two-dimensional in their own special way.
I didn't ask for much from this movie. I expected quirky characters and Tom Hanks being affably charming. What I got were characters flipping from awkward and over the top. Vardalos and Hanks don't seem to have a grasp on what human being act or sound like. The sheer cluelessness about human nature grows more and more alienating as the movie progresses.
Hanks has made a good movie before. "That Thing You Do" was a delightful movie with heart and a good amount of insight on the nature of pop music. With that in mind, it's hard not to blame him as a bad judge of character for teaming up with Vardalos. I get that people were delighted with a movie that addressed being big, fat, and in need of a Greek wedding, but that appears to be the extent of her skill set. Hanks needs to pick better collaborators.
Stinker? Yes, in many ways. But look at the bright side: it could have
been worse -- much worse. Go on -- admit it. "Larry Crowne on deck" --
that's funny stuff! And you have to admit that some of the end scenes
were pretty touching.
So... what the hell were you expecting? Frank Capra?? Preston Sturges?? Woody Allen?!?
And you have to admit it's kind of cute seeing Roberts wave "hi Mom" from the scooter. Admit it -- only a hateful curmudgeon would deny that.
So maybe you might want to cut this picture a little slack. Yes, it shows a closeup of Tom Hanks in his underwear -- God knows why. No, it didn't make that much sense, yes the writing more or less sucked, but so what... we can't all be geniuses. Give Hanks some credit for trying to make a nice, little feel-good picture. We can't all be Jonathan Demme. Hey, if it were easy, we'd all be doing it!!
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