'Larry Crowne' Is 'Hollow And Unconvincing'

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Larry Crowne stars Tom Hanks, who also directed and co-wrote the movie. It co-stars Julia Roberts. This movie's love connection between student and teacher is one of the most unconvincing in memory.


Our film critic, Kenneth Turan, is keeping his eye on the movie screen. In the new movie "Larry Crowne" he finds big names but not a big success.

KENNETH TURAN: "Larry Crowne" not only stars Tom Hanks, it also co-stars Julia Roberts. So the fact that this film is hollow and unconvincing is bad news indeed.

Hanks plays Larry Crowne, an ordinary guy facing a midlife crisis. Larry is an enthusiastic employee at big-box store U-Mart, a man so devoted to his job he cheerfully picks up trash in the store parking lot on the way in to work.

(Soundbite of movie, "Larry Crowne")

Unidentified Man (Actor): (as character) Larry Crowne to the common break area. It's employee of the month day. How many will this be?

Mr. TOM HANKS (Actor): (as Larry Crowne) Oh, I'm not saying - nine.

TURAN: Then he gets fired and has to seek the advice of his neighbors.

(Soundbite of movie, "Larry Crowne")

Unidentified Woman (Actor): (as character) Larry.

Mr. HANKS: (as Larry Crowne): Yeah.

Unidentified Woman: I'm so sorry.

Unidentified Man #2 (Actor): (as character) (Unintelligible) better than a job - an education.

TURAN: At East Valley Community College, Larry signs up for a class in public speaking taught by Mercedes, played by Julia Roberts, who really doesn't want to be there.

(Soundbite of movie, "Larry Crowne")

Ms. JULIA ROBERTS (Actor): (as Mercedes) The state charter requires a minimum of 10 students per class or else it costs more for us to be here than not. So I mean, did you really want a class at 8:00 a.m.? I didn't.

(Soundbite of laughter)

TURAN: A romantic pairing between Forest Gump and Pretty Woman is not going to fly, so the movie spends a lot of time detailing the changes Crowne's new college friends make in his appearance and personality - changes we are led to believe that will lead to the blinding realization that Larry Crowne is way cooler than he appears. But it's all for naught. This movie's love connection between student and teacher is one of the most unconvincing in memory.

For one thing, the on-screen chemistry between Hanks and Roberts is less than zero. If this is the best the studios can muster for adult audiences, we're in for a long, hard summer.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the L.A. Times.

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