Published on June 30th, 2011 | by Courtney Hartmann0
Larry Crowne Review
In the midst of all the blockbuster action movies and comic book characters brought to the big screen comes Tom Hanks’ Playtone Productions latest project,“Larry Crowne”. Written by both Hanks and Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) “Larry Crowne” is like drinking a tall glass of lemonade on a perfect summer day. It’s relaxing, refreshing and not meant to be too exciting.
Fortunately, lack in excitement doesn’t mean lack in entertainment. Lovable Tom Hanks plays the title character, a man who takes pride in his retail job where he is underutilized and under-appreciated and is abruptly “let go” after years of service. Having spent twenty years in the Navy straight out of high school, he never attended college and decides that he wants to change that and start anew.
On his first day of school, he meets pretty, free spirited Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and the rest of her “scooter gang,” including her more-silly-than-sexy boyfriend (Wilmer Valderrama), who help Larry adjust to his new life. He also is introduced to the ins-and-outs of public speaking taught by a weary Mrs. Tainot, played by the ever-effervescent Julia Roberts, who manages to handle her early mornings and failing marriage with many-a-blended alcoholic drinks.
Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks are a winning combination on their own. However, Hanks smartly downplays the budding romance between the two and concentrates on their characters’ genuine affection towards each other, which is much more believable. The supporting characters play their parts strongly, never overshadowing the stars, but instead complementing them and creating a well-orchestrated cast: Cedric the Entertainer and cutesy Taraji P. Henson play Larry’s quirky neighbors. Bryan Cranston (“Malcom in the Middle”) is Mr. Tainot, the writer-turned-blogger-turned- porn-lover husband. And, a bottle-blonde Rita Wilson in a small but excellent role as a bank loan officer who brings quick bursts of sparkle to the screen.