Larry Crowne: directed by Tom Hanks; written Tom Hanks and Nia Vardolos
I pay so little attention to general critical consensus that it was mere happenstance which led me to the Rotten Tomatoes page of Larry Crowne where I saw what a critical tongue lashing it had taken. And, in a way, I think that Larry Crowne is one of those films which exposes all that is wrong with the mob psychology tendencies that tend to overtake film criticism at times. For the record, I’d hardly intimate that it’s an excellent film but what’s interesting about Larry Crowne is that despite its cast of generally big names from Tom Hanks to Julia Roberts to Taraji P. Henson to Bryan Cranston and son on, the film is comfortable being a commendable dramedy about a man – somewhat tritely – finding “himself”. Hanks and Roberts are stars of such great megawatts that by default one demands that a film of theirs be an unbridled success, anything less is an unmitigated failure. And, Larry Crowne is far from a massive successive but I curse the black-and-white world where because it’s not a success it means that it’s a failure.
For me, the film is about Julia Roberts. She plays an unrelentingly bitter professor and she’s not quite the leading lady, even if she’s not quite supporting and as the object of Larry’s affection she’s a bit wasted but the film cares about her (as it does about most of its characters). More importantly, she’s fun in the role. She approaches with a winning gusto and say what you will about Julia – she’s fun to watch. There’s a scene where she enters a classroom she doesn’t want to be in and for a few seconds feels she might have the luck to not have to teach them. The myriad of emotions that runs through her face at not having to have human contact is interesting to watch, and even though her trajectory from bitter to smitten is a bit too “la-de-da” – the film tries to approach it with so much honesty, I can’t hate it too much.