Movie Review: “Larry Crowne”

Last night I went to the movie theater and watched “Larry Crowne.” I am funny with movies. I will get on a movie kick and go to the theater five times in a week and see all the new movies that are out. I will then not go to the theater for a month or so, only to go on a movie binge again. After a long hiatus from the movie theater, this might be the start of another binge.
As I see movies I will review them here on “Don’t Blink” as a regular part of my blog. I have no experience writing reviews and do not really know the proper format/style for writing them so be prepared for amateur hour.
“Larry Crowne” stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. The movie starts off with Tom Hanks’ character, Larry Crowne, getting fired from his job at a Wal-Mart type discount store. He is told he is being let go because he has no college education, making it impossible for him to move up within the company. Crowne is the type of overachieving employee who lives for his job, especially since it was the only real thing he had left after going through a divorce, so naturally his firing crushes him. After several failed attempts to get back into the work force, he decides to  enroll in school at the local community college. Crowne signs up for two classes, a public speaking course and an economics course. Julia Roberts plays the character of Mrs. Tainot, the public speaking professor of Crowne’s class. Mrs. Tainot is a depressed lady with a less than satisfying marriage who brings her problems into the classroom. While enrolled in his two classes, Crowne flourishes as not only does he master his  academics, he also is accepted into a new social circle. It is in this motor scooter gang social circle that Crowne becomes good friends with a real cutie who changes his total image. He develops a whole new attitude and confidence which allows him to one night pick up a wasted Mrs. Tainot who had just gotten into a marriage-ending fight with her husband. Crowne gives her a ride home and despite the chance to spend the night with his teacher, he just kisses her goodnight. Mrs. Tainot starts to fall for Crowne after she finds out that he never told anyone about their encounter and after he delivers an amazing final speech. At the end of the movie, Crowne and Mrs. Tainot are together.
Let me start off by saying please save yourself some time and money by not seeing this movie at the movie theater. This movie is not enhanced one bit by the theater experience. The film is set on four different locations: a discount store, a neighborhood, a community college, and a restaurant. No special effects, no big music scores, no epic scenery.  it is much more of a movie for you to slip into your DVD player while cuddling up with your significant other or on a rainy day. With that said, for a rainy day movie it is a good rainy day movie. Let’s be honest here, it has Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in it. You are not going to produce too many bombs when both of those actors are involved. Yes, without the star power the script would not have been able to stand alone, so thankfully Hanks and Roberts saved it.
The plot of the movie definitely leaves some left to be desired. To be honest, I don’t know if there was ever really that clear of a plot throughout the whole movie. Larry Crowne has to battle his unemployment and midlife crisis while Mrs. Tainot has to face her faltering marriage. Naturally, the answer to the conflicts of the two characters are each other. Not much of a gripping plot but really the only thing I could identify.
The movie definitely made me think a lot about my college years and about my perception of non-traditional, older students. I always kind of cringed at the overly positive 40 year old dude who would participate way too much in lectures and who would seem to always  sit next to the young, cute girls in class (creeps!!). However, after watching “Larry Crowne” I maybe attained a little bit of a different attitude towards these people. Just like Tom Hanks’ character, maybe they were bitten by unemployment or another life changing event and were basically forced to go back to school. Can’t blame these people for trying to get their lives back on track.
The movie also hit a chord with me regarding unemployment. I think “Larry Crowne” really  highlighted the darkness and helplessness that comes with being out of work, especially when work is your only identity. It showed the insensitivity that many people have towards the unemployed and it made me want to always make sure to treat people who are out of work with respect and optimism.  I appreciate movies that make me reflect on real life issues.
So the movie did make me think about non-traditional students and unemployment. However, that is not enough to save a movie from a bland setting and a lack of plot. Good thing “Larry Crowne” had a lot of humor in it. I found myself laughing out loud several times throughout the movie. Some of the scenes that take place in the public speaking class were hilarious and there were parts at the Crowne’s next door neighbor’s (played by Cedric the Entertainer) house that were also very funny.  
In about a month or so, look for “Larry Crowne” in Red Box. You will see two of the best actors of this era pair up once again in a movie that carries with it several relevant real life themes. Just don’t get too excited. Don’t Blink.

Leave a Reply