They say that Tom Hanks is the most likeable person in Hollywood, so it seems apt that he should make the most likeable film of the year, playing possibly the most likeable man in the world.
Larry Crowne was in the Navy for 20 years and has worked hard as a team leader for a superstore until one day he is told he didn’t get a college education and so is no longer workable within the company. With debts from trying to keep his marital home after his divorce, Larry has to make some life changes and so decides to enrol into Community college. Taking one class in Economic and another in communicating, Larry meets a young girl who opens his world up by helping him with his fashion sense and home life, while at the same time being influenced by the grouchy communications teacher Mercedes Tainot, a woman in a loveless marriage with a man who she thought would be a successful writer but lives all day on his computer looking at porn and claiming he is a guy’s guy. Maybe Larry could teach her something about real men.
The plot is nothing complicated or confusion, just a simple tale of an everyday man dealing with the problems that life throws up at you and changing your path to make it easier. Hanks is really the only man who can make it believable and while the script (co-written by Hanks with My Big Fat Greek Wedding writer Nia Vardalos) this is done in a gentle, simplistic way with the occasional laugh but with oodles and oodles of heart.
Hanks makes everything seem so natural and you cannot help but find him endearing. In Larry Crowne, he has created a gentle man who doesn’t seem to have a bad bone in his body and you don’t mind spending time with. Julia Roberts plays the teacher and she has loads of fun getting to be miserable (and drunk) and yet she still has charm enough to make you want her and Hanks to be together.
Sure the ending is a little sentimental and predictable but unlike most modern romantic comedies, this has characters you care about. They are rounded, well-written and you sit for the whole 99 mins with a big goofy grin on your face.
If you are looking for a date movie but don’t want the gross-out humour of the excellent Bridesmaids, then may I point you in the direction of Larry Crowne. It might not be the fastest moving film of the year but you will chuckle and you will feel a slight spring in your step. Tom Hanks should direct more often if he can make such a happy film and this is a very happy film.