July 8, 2011
Review - " Larry Crowne " - (in theaters) By Roland Hansen
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The chemistry between Hanks and Roberts is wonderful but this romance is not the central point of the story because if it
were, "Larry Crowne" would be just another tedious and contrived romantic comedy. As much as Larry loves life and
appreciates every minute, Mercedes has lost her love of teaching and life. As they get to know each other, Mercedes
begins to live vicariously through Larry's love of life and begins to see things fresh again. It's beautiful.
The focus is instead on Larry's personal reinvention. He comes to the slow realization that his life-long pursuit of the
American Dream has become cluttered and cumbersome. Without any income and underwater on his mortgage, Larry
swaps his gas-guzzling SUV for a cheap and efficient motor scooter.
At school, Larry meets fellow scooter enthusiast and whirlwind free spirit Talia (the super-cute Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who,
along with her gang of scooter-riders, takes Larry under her wing, rearranges his house and equips him with a new
wardrobe and outlook on life.
Larry is also able to get his personal finances in order thanks to his Econ 101 course taught by the stellar George Takei.
Only the most brutally cynical will be able to roll their eyes and dismiss "Larry Crowne" because in spite of its overtly
cheery point of view, Hanks never once abandons reality in favor of star-crossed outcomes or unnecessary, emotional
twists and turns.
We often lose track of how much of life is dependent upon our outlook. Bad things will most assuredly happen to good
people and no one escapes the fickle finger of fate. But as "Larry Crowne" happily reminds us, we do have a hand to play
in our ultimate destiny and whether we like it or not, life is what we make it.
Directed by: Tom Hanks
Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Wilmer Valderrama, Pam
Grier, George Takei, Bryan Cranston, Cedric the Entertainer &
Taraji P. Henson
This movie is about finding joy in life and not letting age or
education stop you. It's also about appreciating the little things
and teaching us how sometimes, when we become too
self-satisfied, we miss what life is really about.
So Larry (Tom Hanks) is this guy who's pretty happy with his life
and he works in a big box store where he's happy with his job,
respected by his co-workers, and very successful, having earned
"Employee of the Month" honors many times. Unfortunately, he's
let go from his job in a wave of corporate downsizing because he
lacks advancement potential not having a college degree. Not
sure what to do next, he decides to go to college, hoping that a
degree will help him in the job market. Of course, it's one of those
things where his friends tell him he's too old or that it's going to be
hard or whatever, but Larry just has this zest for life. He's like a
Hari Krishna who's been slipped some Zoloft. He's just so happy
about everything and so positive. Along the way he meets some
new and interesting friends at school and starts to develop
feelings for one of his instructors, who herself has lost passion in
what she does and her life in general. Hefinds himself in a speech
class taught by the embittered Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts).
We know without a doubt that she will wind up falling for Larry,
especially when we witness her dissolving marriage to a
self-righteous jerk (played by the brilliant Bryan Cranston).