Saturday 22 October 2011

Today's Review: Larry Crowne

Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts? You can't go wrong with that combination, surely? Apparently it can.

Larry Crowne is about, surprise surprise, a man named Larry Crowne (Hanks). He's been a good employee of a generic large store for a long time, but that doesn't stop them firing his ass based on the fact that he never went to college. On the verge of financial ruin, and unable to get hired by anyone else, he decides to just head to college, where he takes the first piece of advice that the dean gives him and takes three classes that will "change his life". One of these is a speech class run by Mrs. Tainot (Roberts), a beautiful yet unhappy and grouchy teacher who Larry inexplicably starts to pursue. Larry also befriends a group of scooter riders, and in fact anyone else who crosses his path, so you can really see his life turn around.

Therein lies a major problem with the film. Everyone that Larry meets in the movie instantly seems to like him and want to help him out. There is little to no tension, it's just a series of scenes where Larry does everything right and seems really happy, and his friends start piling up so much that we hardly even see relationships develop. The only glimpses we see of his speech class are the students giving increasingly adequate speeches, but apparently off camera they become really good friends and get taught very effectively by Mrs. Tainot, because at the end they're a tight knit speech giving group. It would be good if they portrayed any of this development, but instead we're just left to assume that everyone's doing fine and they all like each other anyway.

I don't know, maybe I should shake off my Hollywood tinted glasses that expect conflict and volatile relationships, perhaps in this new world and economy everyone does just want to help each other out, but it seems so unreal. Larry Crowne certainly isn't an awful movie though. It's very upbeat, obviously, and there is some great talent in the form of George Takei and Bryan Cranston, it's just there's not enough character development in there to really help them shine.

Larry Crowne really is a feel good movie. It's kind of funny in places, but mostly it's just about a guy floating his way through a time in his life when most people would be depressed and lonely. Perhaps that's something we need in this economic climate, but to me it just came off as a bit boring and underdeveloped.

My rating: 2/5

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