Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Larry Crowne [ Movie Review ] ★★1/2

The Pitch 

Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, two of the Hollywood heavyweights (and Academy Awards winners) partner up for a romantic comedy about picking oneself up after suffering from one of the worst fallout of the economic downturn. A plot device that resonate with the current economic status in USA and other parts of the world.

Not forgetting that Tom Hanks had a great turn out when he directed That Thing You Do! Larry Crowne might just be able to cement his capability in directing movies.

Sound like a win win situation except that this movie is co written by Nia Vardalos who had seen big flops with her last few screenwriting efforts after My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

The Plot

Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) was a superb worker in U Mart and was expecting his 10th employee of the month award. Instead, he got fired and had a huge mortgage that he couldn't pay. Listening to his neighbor's advice, he went back to his local college to upgrade himself so that he could improve his chances at finding another job.

At the college, he became a part of a community of outcasts and individuals from all walks of life. In the public speaking class, he developed a crush on his teacher Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts), who has lost both the passion for teaching and her husband. 

The Perspective 

If you have gone to watch this movie, expecting portrayal of realism in unemployment, you would probably be disappointed. According to Tom Hanks, they did their research on the current economic downturn and unemployment, but it didn't translate well onto the big screen. The whole unemployment issue was dealt in a sloppy manner and it became a side dish to what this movie is actually about.

Larry Crowne is actually about the unlikely romance between Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts characters and the whole movie hinge on whether you buy their romance or not. Personally, the romance didn't work for me. It was hard to see how their characters tried to restrain their feelings for each other when there's hardly any chemistry between them.

But then again, the stars are worth the money that they are paid for this movie. The likeability of Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts help eased sitting through this meandering romantic comedy. There's something about their star factor that helps them charms the audience when the material wasn't constructive enough and in this case, it was a big contribution to this movie. If it isn't for Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts, I could hardly find any reason to recommend this.

Definitely a big drop from his directorial debut, That Thing You Do!

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