Film review | Larry Crowne – Romcom pairing for Hollywood royalty Tom Hanks & Julia Roberts

Larry Crowne - Julia Roberts & Tom Hanks

In the early 1990s, a romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts would have had cinema audiences queuing around the block. In 2011, their pairing in Larry Crowne barely warrants a shrug.

Hanks, who also directs and co-writes (with My Big Fat Greek Wedding’s Nia Vardalos), plays the title character, a regular working guy seeking to reinvent himself after getting downsized from his job in a U-Mart superstore because he doesn’t have a degree. Roberts is a boozy, burnt-out professor whose marriage to a porn-surfing slacker has turned sour.

They couldn’t be more different. Larry is cheerful and chipper, despite his setbacks. Roberts’s Juliet is bitter and unhappy. Yet they turn each other’s lives around after Larry signs up for her class in public speaking at his local community college.

Hanks and Roberts remain immensely likeable stars, so it’s a shame they don’t strike more sparks here. That’s partly because of a lack of chemistry, but mostly because of the film’s undercooked script, which gives you no real reason, other than romcom convention, why they should end up together. In the course of the story, Hanks’s character gets a head-to-toe fashion makeover from sassy fellow student Talia (British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw). Afterwards, he’s still affable, easygoing and just a little bland – and so is the movie.

On general release from 1st July.


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