I have a confession to make. Sometimes when no one's looking, I'll force myself to watch a romantic comedy just to see how much I can take before retching. It's never very long. Like when watching a bad accident, my mouth hangs open and I begin to wonder not only what is wrong with actors, writers and directors, but the world at large.
Something is amiss in this vacuum they call "rom coms." The most recent flicks I attempted were The Ugly Truth and Couples Retreat, resulting in my almost committing hari kari. So I figured the only way to safely get through Larry Crowne without hurting myself or anyone in a five-mile radius was to make it a date night with my fiancée. Well, here's the deal. Neither of us liked it.
Larry Crowne is probably the blandest, most uninventive movie I've ever seen. It reeks of laziness and bad timing. I think Tom Hanks is a sharp, witty guy, but let's face it... he's just trying to be cute. And here in this movie, about a non-college educated man losing his job amidst the economic downturn and suffering a mid-life crisis, Hanks as director/co-writer and actor handles everything way too cutely. Then there's Julia Roberts, who essentially plays herself as Crowne's wholly unbelievable love interest.
Larry Crowne's previews sell the feel-good aspect of this movie, and even though they prepared me for blandness, I had no idea that this movie would be propelled by mediocrity. We are left guessing what motivates virtually everyone. All characters are underdeveloped and never explored. The classroom scenes are unbearably weak. Hanks even finds a way to drop the ball with the comedy gold casting of George Takei (Star Trek's Zulu).
I cannot even get a handle on what target demographic the filmmakers are trying to reach. Hanks seems out of touch. With all his Hollywood money, his interpretation of self-reinvention of the everyday man amidst the down economy is condescending. Every single scene is handled in slow motion, submerged in a sugary sweet version of fairy tale love and the bettering of one's self.
Crowne's "ha-hah we're all learning and having fun" façade makes me nauseous, like someone slipped me a foul tasting, slow acting poison. All this flick really boils down to is an empty piece of fluff specifically geared for Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts' fans. And even they will be disappointed. I know my date was.
Directed by Tom Hanks
Starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts