Larry Crowne (2011)

Larry Crowne (2011) — So there’s a lot of parts of this movie that make me feel like it should work, but it just doesn’t. Tom Hanks’ first movie (as a writer-director) was That Thing You Do! which was as fun as the title song.  Hanks’ second feature (not counting TV work like From Earth to the Moon) doesn’t have that sense of fun as it’s about the decidedly un-fun subject of downsizing. The economic climate of this country has been mined for cinema before (Up in the Air being the best example) but Larry Crowne has it in its head that it’s a comedy. The problem is it’s never all that funny, aside from a few isolated chuckles. Hanks is likable and engaging and Hanks-ian in the title role but the character doesn’t seem to really change throughout the movie. Julia Roberts is just wildly unlikable until all of a sudden she’s not for no good reason. Two people do very well in this movie. The first is a girl I’ve never seen in anything before named Gugu Mbatha-Raw. She steals scenes and is adorable. The second is George Takei as an economics professor. Dude has comedic timing. Bryan Cranston is wasted in a nothing role as Roberts’ deadbeat husband and for some reason Fez from That 70s Show is in this too. I don’t want to dislike Larry Crowne, as it seems to have a nice little message about just being decent to people, but it just doesn’t deliver.

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