Larry Crowne

Film, Drama
2 out of 5 stars
2 out of 5 stars
(10user reviews)
An innocuous wish-fulfilment fantasy masquerading as a comedy-drama about the value of adult education, this is basically a $5-million indie movie featuring two A-list stars, director and co-writer Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. It is also further proof that craven Hollywood studios should never allow a major player to direct his or her long-cherished pet project.

Never at any point does this movie touch upon reality. Ex-Navy cook turned U-Mart employee of the month Larry Crowne (Hanks) gets the sack, swaps his gas-guzzling 4x4 for a secondhand scooter and signs up for community college, where his public- speaking teacher turns out to be the jaded ‘Miss’ Tainot (Roberts), who self-medicates with cocktails while her self-published loser husband surfs porn.

Being an all-round good guy but also a fish out of water, the innocent, hard-working Larry is instantly embraced by his young fellow students, receiving a sartorial and tonsorial makeover from the beautiful, free-spirited Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and her scooter-riding pals, before catching the eye of his equally lovely teacher.

After the fizzy, pop-tastic stylings of ‘That Thing You Do!’, this is a backward step for director Hanks, whose co-writer Nia Vardalos (‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’) must share the blame for a script that is flat, anodyne and littered with lazy coincidences. Hanks is as loveable as ever, Roberts flashes her billion-dollar smile and – as in ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ – they do make a funny, charmingly mismatched couple. Scene stealer Mbatha-Raw’s Talia dreams of owning her own secondhand clothing store, and this is like a well-worn vintage dress: comfortable but a little threadbare.


Release details

Release date:
Friday July 1 2011
99 mins

Cast and crew

Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks, Nia Vardalos
Nia Vardalos
Julia Roberts
Bryan Cranston
Pam Grier
George Takei

Average User Rating

2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:4
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

This film has a lot going for it . . . . Ok . . it doesn't quite deliver, but it's warm and engaging, and has a subtlety and charm which is very refreshing the hard-edged, fast-editing of rom-coms aimed at the 16-30 age group. Most successful is the link the film makes between the development of women's lib and the growth of the porn industry . .. The film doesn' t develop this theme, but it hits the nail on the head and is proof that this film is more firmly grounded in reality than one might think. . . . . .However, the plot development follows the more formulaic . . . `she doesn't dig him, then she does` which is the stock in trade of most rom coms. Fortunately you've got just class acts as Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts as leads who are both capable of giving the maximum depth to any screenplay . . . . I agree this film isn't perfect, but its gentle humour and likeable characters make it pleasantly watchable . . .Those who liked Dustin Hoffman in `Last Chance Harvey` will like this. . Recommended

The biggest problem this film has is that it's not grounded in reality. I'd put it alongside other mid-life crises films like Dan in Real Life or Crazy, Stupid, Love - but whereas those films have nice moments of drama (alongside the comedy) and you can believe that Steve Carell's characters are real (or at least realistic enough), Hanks' Larry Crowne just seems too schmaltzy and too 'Hollywood'. In some scenes, Crowne acts a bit too much like Forrest Gump to be taken seriously. It's a shame because there are some nice scenes with a decent bit of underplayed drama (like the beginning part where Crowne loses his job). I really like Hanks as an actor (who doesn't?) so I'll always watch him in a film even when the film isn't the best. In the case of Larry Crowne, this is one of those films. It's a two star film but I'll give it an extra star because I'm a Hanks fan.

Dreadful. Disappointing. I would have walked out half way through but my film-buddy for the night had fallen asleep, and I was too much of a gent to let her wake up all alone.

I am a huge fan of Tom Hanks but this failed to deliver on every level.The script was poor, no depth to any of the characters, what exactly did Julia Roberts character teach? I've always found her annoying and over rated, no chemistry between the 2 leads, Hanks carried the film but he is capable of so much better than this below average rubbish

I'm usually easily pleased at the cinema but this was awful. Schmaltzy and self indulgent, with a minimal plot. Pointless disconnected sub plots didn't contribute anything other than fill in time. I was grateful to fall asleep for a few minutes in the middle. Disappointing. One star for a nice idea.

As somebody has already said, this is a self indulgent fantasy for Tom Hanks. Pretty average fare , quickly forgotten.

Watchable tale, but the 2 leading characters weren't really credible or believable and had very little on screen chemistry, which meant i couldn't care less whether they got together or not!

I'm surprised how wide of the mark I found Nigel Floyd's Time Out review of Larry Crowne. Admittedly, Hanks and Roberts have had their share of Oscar wins and complete flops. That said, I don't see this film as either a flop or an Oscar winner. It's a very comfortable tale of the recession-hit times, with Hanks' character seeking the education he never had. Judging by the way no one walked out, and the consistent chuckles throughout, the rest of the audience though this film good entertainment. If, as Floyd says, this movie was made for $5 million, it'll make the studio and backers a few bob - the cinema in which I saw it was nearly full. Like "Robert", and "John Wages" (below), I enjoyed it. Recommended. Three stars, or 7/10.

Doesn't pretend to be any more than it is - just a couple of hours of fairly enjoyable , warm-hearted rom-com fluff.