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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Larry Crowne

By
Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
Source: AmericanCatholic.org

I wanted to like “Larry Crowne”, a new film directed by the brilliant Oscar-winner Tom Hanks and co-written with Nia Vardalos, who gave us the wonderful film “My Big Fat Greet Wedding” in 2002. Yes, I was looking forward to seeing “Larry Crowne” but the best thing about it was seeing it after “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”. It gave me a chance to unwind. Unfortunately, I almost fell asleep.
 
Larry (Tom Hanks) is a middle-aged retail worker who gets along with everyone. He’s been employee of the month nine times. But he is fired because he does not have a college diploma and cannot advance in the company. He was in the Navy for twenty years but this does not seem to count. Recently divorced with no children, he regroups – and buys a motor scooter from his next-door neighbor with a never-ending yard sale, Lamar (Cedric the Entertainer), to save on gas.
 
An advisor suggests that Larry take a speech class and another on basic economics. The speech teacher, Mercedes (Julia Roberts), is unhappy but her class of ten students responds to her reluctant teaching, much to her surprise. When Larry offers her a ride after a disastrous dinner with her porn-addicted husband,  Mercedes responds to his genuine and gentle kindness.
 
The class is made up of interesting people but they really never get a chance to develop, and the storyline for one girl who drops out to open a business, is never really concluded. There was one student, though, that caught my eye; she looked just like Mamie Gummer, daughter of Meryl Streep, who has had a recurring role as a deliciously devious and brilliant attorney on CBS “The Good Wife”.  The credits listed her as Grace Gummer, another of Meryl Streep’s four children. Grace has a small role here, but she may be an actress to watch.
 
The economics class starts off well; the professor, Dr. Matsutani (George Takei)  thinks he’s a comedian but he speaks so slowly that the film’s energy drops every time we end up in his class.
 
“Larry Crowne” is a good-hearted film that wants to encourage people in economically depressed times, to re-train, go back to school, and for some audiences, this will resonate.  It makes a great point that pornography destroys relationships (without showing any). But the mega-watt star power of Hanks and Roberts overwhelms the simplicity of the script that never quite finds its footing.


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