Question : What do you get when you put two geniuses like Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in a movie that uses little other than standard Hollywood clichés and a storyline that could not have been any more predictable?

Ans : Larry Crowne. A movie that makes little sense, lets you figure out the ending about 10 minutes after the opening credits, and somehow, still manages to keep you glued to the screen with a stupid grin on your face. That is, provided you sat down to be entertained and not to go through it as soon as possible so that you can publish your invaluable opinions on film-making on IMDB.

The movie is Tom Hanks’s second as a director. While he’s no Stanley Kubrick and this ain’t no “Full Metal Jacket“, you won’t find much reason to complain either. Most notably, unlike most other actor-turned-directors, he doesn’t see the need to put himself in every shot and scene. Tom plays Larry Crowne, a terrific salesman who was fired because he didn’t have a college degree. He, of course, enrolls in a community college where Julia Roberts happens to teach “The Art of Informal Remarks.” Er, that means speaking in public. Anyways, Larry Crowne, Tom’s character, is struggling with a lot of things like unemployment, a mortgage, a divorce etc etc. While Ms Tainot, played by Julia, is suffering through a marriage where her aspiring blogger/certified asshole of a husband spends his time browsing through porn on the internet while pretending to write. I could go on with the story but I won’t. Not because of spoilers, but because  you can figure out the rest.  The supporting characters of the movie are, frankly, brilliant. To be an unknown and share screen space with the likes of Tom and Julia And to be able to hold your own is not easy. And this, is the half the reason this movie is worth watching. There’s Lamar, the neighbour, who seems to have a perpetual garage sale going on, the economics professor with his accent and his rules, the scooter gang which lets Larry in without a question, and of course, the lovely, bubbly, cute, sexy Talia played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

The other half is Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts,who appear to be nothing more than two middle-aged people with difficult lives. Hell, they don’t even try to appear to be good-looking. And somehow, they do the most ordinary and also some absurd things in so convincing and endearing a way that you find yourself reluctant to be analytical. The high point of the movie, in my opinion, is the scene where Tom Hanks in full punk gear (complete with haircut, leather and chain) carries a drunk Julia Roberts home on, of all things, a blue scooter.

Larry Crowne isn’t a laugh riot like Hangover or a brain teaser like Inception, neither is it a computer graphics overkill like Transformers. It doesn’t leave you drained like The Dark Knight( We’ll talk about That One some other day), it isn’t even an intense romance like, say, The Notebook.  And the best part is that it doesn’t try or pretend to be any of those things. It’s just a pleasure to watch, an hour and a half of honest, happy entertainment. It’s what you should watch when you’ve had  a long day in the office and want to shake off the bad mood before you go to bed, or when you have got home from a particularly nice date with your girl and don’t want to let go of that warm feeling. Larry Crowne doesn’t try to be an Oscar winner or even a contender. It’s just a simple, entertaining, feel-good movie that makes you happy. And sometimes, that’s what a movie should be.

  1. anuspace says:

    I saw this recently and loved it. It is nice to have a light movie which does not bombard you with deep disturbing reality for a change. The supporting cast are just lovely, especially Talia. 🙂

  2. Yes, Especially Talia. 🙂

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