Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Larry Crowne

Back to School

Director: Tom Hanks
Writers: Tom Hanks, Nia Vardalos
Stars: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Cedric the Entertainer, Taraji R. Henson, Wilmer Valderrama, Pam Grier, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, George Takei, Bryan Cranston

Larry & Crowne Movie ImageWatch Larry Crowne Trailer Now
SYNOPSIS: After being down-sized from the UMart big-box company due to his lack of college education, divorced Larry Crowne finds himself upsize-down with his home mortgage and zero job prospects. He returns to community college and is talked into enrolling in a course that "will change his life".

Tom Hanks writes (with Big Fat Greek Wedding scribe and star Nia Vardalos), directs and stars in a Play Tone production of Larry Crowne, the story of the title character (Tom Hanks) who finds himself with zero prospects after serving 20 years in the Navy right after high school, marrying and divorcing, striving to be the best team leader at his UMart branch, then getting down-sized due to his lack of college experience. Barely able to pay for the gas in his gas-devouring truck, Larry opts to buy a scooter from his neighbors Lamar (Cedric the Entertainer) and B'Ella (Taraji, P. Henson) who have a perpetual on-going yard sale. Going to community college after failing to secure a job in "these difficult times", Larry enrolls in a speech class that brings him in direct contact with professor Mercedes Tainot, played by Julia Roberts, who abhors her life, her professor-turned-author-turned-blogger Dean (Bryan Cranston), and has lost her passion for teaching.

Larry Crowne is a story of a middle-aged man struggling with the harsh changes that come for some of us in tandem with a loss of a job and the aftermath of divorce. Hanks peeks at the banking curtain of how a few years ago, before the down-turned economy, a person could get refinanced for an additional half-million with just a signature. With his most recent run-ins with his bank's loan officer, Wilma Q. Gammelgaard (Rita Wilson), he is treated to complimentary coffee and no accountability.

We also venture forth with Crowne to a community college where he takes a speech class with Mrs. Tainot (Juia Roberts) and an economics class with Dr. Matsutani (George Takei), running into a eclectic group of schoolmates in free spirit "life coach" Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), Talia's jealous boyfriend and fellow scooter rider Dell (That 70's Show's Wilmer Valderrama), skater-dude slacker Steve Dibiasi (Rami Malek), and reserved and shy Lala (Maria Canals-Barrera). Takei and Roberts play polar opposites as community college educators. Takei's Dr. Matsutani is no-nonsense, knowledgeable and dedicated to the arts of economics. Robert's Mrs. Tainot, on the other hand, has lost her spark - almost excited if the class doesn't meet the minimum 10-student state mandate.

Larry Crowne is sweet, humorous and light. Although skimming the surface of the current climate in America of lost jobs, rising gas prices and general disinterest of some, the film does center on the struggles as it relates to Crowne, known affectionately as Lance Corona by his scooter gang members, Mrs. Tainot, and, to a lesser extent, those around them. Does Larry Crowne have it in him to pick himself up again? Will Mrs. Tainot find the spark that drives the passion for teaching? You can probably guess the right answers without seeing the film. Not as snappy as Hanks' That Thing You Do, Larry Crowne still has a decent message - stay in school!

WORTH: Netflix

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