LOOK at Tom Hanks. Doesn’t that guileless, open, uncomplicated face bespeak warmth, dignity, honesty, diligence? Sure, he can play bad guy with the best, but Larry Crowne is the epitome of human goodness coping with stress.
Hanks wrote, directed and starred in this gentle observation of a simple man fired in hard economic times because his CV doesn’t show a degree.
The reasons are valid and meritorious but the company rule book is unforgiving.
So when this 50-something survivor of a broken marriage finds a college offering courses to mature-age students, he enrolls in Communication and Economics.
The film’s forays in the college and community beyond the classroom become signposts to Larry’s interaction with Communications lecturer Mercedes (Julia Roberts) coping with a dysfunctional marriage.
Hanks has spun the film’s romantic thread with admirable restraint. The pair’s chemistry is pleasant rather than exciting.
Despite giving Hanks the impetus that propelled “Forrest Gump”, “Larry Crowne” offers warm humour, credible issues (sometimes with improbable resolutions) and a gentle examination of the travails currently besetting working-class America.
Nice but negligible, that’s my assessment.
At Greater Union, Hoyts and Limelight