|Still from Larry Crowne|
Although not necessarily his meatiest material to-date, Tom Hanks shines bright in latest self-directed and co-written Rom-Com, Larry Crowne, about a 40-something Man fired from his Job at a Discount Retailer. Due to changes in the current economic climate, Larry is forced to upgrade his skills and thus decides to return to College where among other courses, he studies Speech Delivery under a de-motivated yet immensely attractive Professor Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts).
Unable to afford Gas for his SUV, Larry buys a Scooter from his Neighbour Lamar (Cedric the Entertainer) at a Yard Sale and then is introduced by classmate Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) to a group of Scooter-riding, well-meaning Misfits who help turn his life around. As he begins to apply himself to his studies in trying to maintain a work/life balance, his feelings for Mercedes grow stronger. There is only one catch though – Mercedes not only is his Professor which presents professional risks to her by being involved with Larry – she also is married still (albeit unhappily) to husband Dean (Bryan Cranston).
There are several holes with Tom Hanks and Nia Vardalos’ Script which overall can be forgiven because both Hanks and Roberts are so exceptionally good together. Despite lacking focus at points, our attentions on Larry and Mercedes always are constant. It must be said that Hanks does a credible job tapping into the charm in his Actors; Wilder Valderrama, Mbatha-Raw and Cranston all light up the screen and perhaps there should have been a bit more of them.
Larry Crowne’s central journey is that of an unconventional Hero’s road to a new Self Discovery, yet there are plot elements which perhaps aren’t so meticulously fleshed-out. For example, we never really get a sense of enough struggle in Larry’s quest to overcome the odds scholastically and in his romance with Mercedes, she who divides her time between being depressed and difficult. Simply we don’t grasp enough Mercedes’ own struggle to want to be together with Larry, rather more so we get that she more wants out of her marriage to Porn-addicted Dean.
Additionally, continuity flaws are noted with Classmates seemingly popping out of nowhere in Larry’s Speech Class at one of the most important moments late in the Film. Keen eyes will note even that Mercedes in one scene orders Fried Chicken with her Confidante Frances (Pam Grier), while cutting to Pizza in the second half of the scene. Hey - it’s the commitment to details which make a great Film! And this one although good, falls just short of being great.
Larry Crowne opens in theatres July 1, 2011 via Alliance Films. Grade: B
(Photo credit: Alliance Films)