Sunday, July 03, 2011

FILM REVIEW: Larry Crowne

In this rom-com, Tom Hanks plays the title character, a Navy veteran turned big-box store employee, who gets downsized for not having a college degree. He logically enrolls into college, determined to get his job back. Along the way, he meets a cast of characters that becomes the family, you get the sense, he never had. He then proceeds to regress, not only academically, but romantically.

He takes two classes: Speech and Economics. In Economics, he meets Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw from "Undercovers"), a spontaneous and mischievous girl who inspires him to save money on gas with a moped, dress more modern with clothes from her clothing storage, and have more confidence in himself. These are things he needs for Speech class, which is taught by the depressed, alcoholic, and unenthusiastic Professor Mercedes Tainot whose marriage is on its last legs. That doesn't exactly describe anyone's dream girl, but slap Julia Robert's name on all that baggage and suddenly she's The One. Slowly but surely she not only teaches him and his classmates how to address an audience, but he teaches her how to love her job again.

There's nothing wrong with this cast: Oscar nominees, promising newcomers, and acting veterans. There's believable, tangible chemistry amidst this unorthodox family. The romantic leads are even easy to root for. But the fact is this story doesn't quite have the urgency or the energy required to make it an exciting, must-see, love story.

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