Larry Crowne Review

"Tom's Still Got It! Does Julia?"

Every Thursday night at eight is a night where comedy happens on NBC. Community is one of the funniest, most creative television series crafted in years. Who wouldn't enjoy a show with Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong and many more all hitting the books and making community college a fun place to tune in to? Oh, wait a second....this isn't Community, its Larry Crowne starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. I've been mistaken because Larry Crowne is pretty much the exact same premise as Community. My apologies for the confusion...

Thinking of all the films that have been released this year so far, 2011 hasn't really had that feel-good, influential film quite yet. Is Larry Crowne the first? Walking into Larry Crowne, I wasn't expecting the next Forrest Gump character from Tom Hanks, but I was expecting a film heart-warming and entertaining. It's not exactly as heart-warming as expected to be, but the cheesy humor and influential tale of Mr. Crowne keeps it entertaining and very fun to watch. With all of the summer blockbusters coming out containing CGI effects and colorful animation, Larry Crowne is a break from fantasy and a step into reality for the time-being and it's worth seeing just for that.

Twenty years in the Navy after high-school as a "culinary specialist", Larry has never gotten the college education people expect out of him. Loosing his job at a Wal-Mart-type store called U-Mart because of his lack of a college degree, he decides to reinvent himself by going to community college. On the first day, Larry finds a friend in Talia, a free spirited girl who shows Larry a new sense in fashion. Making new friends quite simply, he also makes an impression on his two teachers, one being Mercedes. Mercedes is a woman who you can tell struggles to wake up in the morning and is bored with her simple life. Struggling in a dead-beat relationship with her husband, she's just looking for a way out. Is Larry that way?

Even though Larry Crowne is just a more serious version of Community, it's hard not to be entertained from start to finish. Larry is a very likeable character who you feel bad for in the beginning and as he takes steps to a better lifestyle as the film plays on, a huge smile is brought onto your face. The film is cheesy to the fullest because of its light, clichéd humor, but it's still never over-the-top or ridiculously forced.

Tom Hanks directed, co-wrote, and stars in this romantic-dramady that strikes the first (and I think only) of the summer. It might look like just a film for the older folk, but I'm only seventeen and I enjoyed this one because of how real this movie is. It's never at all drowned by fiction and is always honest and straight to the point about the working world today. I was thinking seriously through my life and what I could do to improve myself before college. This isn't just aimed for adults; it's aimed for anyone looking for a film with a point to it.

Tom's still got it! Does Julia? Hanks plays Crowne perfectly and his performance helps make the character very likeable. Tom doesn't have the best chemistry with co-star Julia Roberts, but with Gugu Mbatha-Raw who plays Talia. Gugu is perfect in her free-spirit role and gives the best female performance in the entire movie. As for Roberts, we've seen her in these boring roles before and it's hard to like her character. Honestly, Roberts just as a teacher and not as Crowne's love-interest would've made this a much better movie, but we'll get deeper into that later. Some of the co-stars here bring in the comedy and help make Larry Crowne a roaring on-campus comedy. The only problem is all of the clichéd characters Larry Crowne tries too hard to squeeze in by the end are what bothers you most.

The sloppiest outcome from Larry Crowne is the romance between the title-character and Roberts' character, Mercedes. You can guess correctly on how the film will end but I thought the story between the two just wasn't enough for them to fall in love. After jumping out of a relationship with her husband and focusing on other things, it was so random when the whole attraction between the two characters started. This film isn't exactly fit as a successful romance, but better as a tale of a man who makes something out of himself. Though I would've rather the whole thing between the two characters dropped, if it was crafted a tad bit better I might have enjoyed that aspect more.

Don't walk in expecting a Tom Hanks/Julia Roberts classic but a fun, entertaining flick that manages to stay on a level of perfect decency throughout. Not many climaxes other than the main plot of the film come aboard so there is never anything different going on with the story once the classes start, but this is only a simple breath of fresh air this summer that you can sit and think through by yourself. Cheesy, very cheesy, but its all done for the fun in Larry Crowne, enjoy!

Thanks for the read!

Written by Corey Wood

  • Story

  • Acting

  • Directing

  • Visuals

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