Their crowns slip
LARRY CROWNE ( M)
Director: Tom Hanks ( That Thing You Do) Stars: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Bryan Cranston, Pam Grier, Rami Malek
As sappy as Larry
ONCE upon a time, the dream-teaming of Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts atop a box-office marquee would have caused queues visible from the moon.
But in 2011, with their once-bright stars but a twinkle of their former selves, a Hanks-Roberts pairing feels like a very dated idea for a date movie.
Which turns out to be the exact outcome for Larry Crowne, a recessionera rom-com about looking for love in a lapsed job market.
Hanks ( pictured with Roberts), who also directed and co-wrote this buttery feel-gooder, plays the title character, a simple everyman destined to bounce back from a mid-life crisis in style.
But first, ol’ Larry must get the sack from a seemingly solid position as a customer wrangler at a hardware mega-barn.
Having already been dumped by his missus and left holding a mortgage he can barely make payments on, Larry has hit an all-time low by the close of the movie’s first act.
The turnaround commences when Larry, who can’t find gainful employment anywhere, decides to take a community college course to improve his skills.
After falling in with a groovy crowd that give him both a fashion makeover and a new set of wheels ( a vintage scooter), Larry’s life is soon on the upswing.
All that’s missing is a good woman. However, the only viable candidate in his age bandwidth – his heavy-drinking public speaking tutor, Mercedes Tainot ( Julia Roberts) – thinks Larry is a bit of a lightweight.
Anyway, Mercedes is already living with someone else. And whenever she must interact with Larry and her other students, she gives every indication she would rather be somewhere else.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out where this missile of mawkishness is heading, and the only real surprise is how long it takes for Mercedes to realise what an ace card Larry really is.
With so little of note to work with, no one in Larry Crowne stands a chance of making much impact.
Hanks has lost none of his trademark charm over the years, but he does struggle to get us truly urging Larry to achieve his dream.
Roberts throws a few interesting shapes ( her drunk scene is a standout) when given the opportunity.
In fact, before her character softens up, you can’t help but reflect what a great job she might have done in Cameron Diaz’s shoes in Bad Teacher.
www. larrycrowne. com
Now showing at Village Cinemas