By Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
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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