Friday, July 08, 2011

Larry Crowne's Big Miss

This movie should be an awesome film.  Starring one guy who is almost a "Can't Miss", that being Tom Hanks (for anyone who has seen "The Ladykillers", you'll know that the "almost" in that statement is necessary), and at least until recently, a bankable leading actress, that being Julia Roberts (though since "Eat Pray Love" made about 9 dollars at the box office, that might not be true either.)

Mercy and Larry, discussing the GPS, which is voiced by Nia
...or if you are a glutton for punishment, watch both in "Charlie Wilson's War", only made good by the presence of Philip Seymore Hoffman and Amy Adams, whom I'm in love with...

Anyway, "Larry Crowne"'s premise is promising... a guy who has been successful at a U-Mart, a big Costco-like store, gets fired because he doesn't have a college degree, and to better his life, he heads back to school.  To do what, I'm not sure, but he heads back there.

The co-stars also leads you to believe this might be a, excuse me Chazz Sheen, "winning" movie.  Cedric the Entertainer and Taraji Henson play comical neighbors without being too slapsticky, while Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Wilmer Valderrama lead the group of college friends that Larry meets.  Bryan Cranston is the jerkweed hubby of Mercedes (Julia's character), and does a fine job being jerkweedy, and finally, George Takei almost steals the movie as the eccentric, somewhat creepy Dr. Matsutani, one of Larry's professors.

This looks like a made up pic of Takei... but this is him in the movie,
and he is one part weird and one part hilarious, and wholly

Finally, the fact that Tom Hanks directed it, though only his second directing effort, his first was "That Thing You Do!", one of The Lovely Steph Leann's favorites, and a good, good movie.  "Larry Crowne" was also co-written by Nia Vardalos, screenwriter of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", one of my 35 favorite films of all time, and star of another of my new favorites, "My Life in Ruins"

But somehow, like a jigsaw puzzle piece that almost fits, that almost goes into the spot you think it should go into, but it still had to much wiggle room, or the knobby part is a little too big to go into the slot like it should, this movie doesn't quite fit, it doesn't quite get into that slot like you want it to.

I liked the movie well enough... it does have its funny moments, and I did find myself laughing out loud a few times.  Tom Hanks is the Tom Hanks we love, sort of goofy, never too serious, just lovable.  It doesn't make any sense that he wins the Employee of the Month for like, 8 months in a row, after spending years of high service in the Navy, and he's discarded for not having a college degree.  Heck, John Stossel himself tells us in a recent Washington Post article that college might not nearly be as necessary as we make it out to be.

Overlooking that, then there are the neighbors who make a living by having a 24/7 yard sale.  Then there is the scooter buddy who leases and opens a consignment shop.  Then there is the fact that Julia Roberts' character's name is "Mercedes".

Looking past all of that, however, there is one thing that kinda dulls the movie for me... and that's that Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts have no chemistry.  They just... well, they just don't.  The Lovely Steph Leann will disagree with me here, but there was just no spark between Tom and Julia, which made it hard to put forth a believable spark between Larry and Mercedes. 

Please understand, though, it sounds like I'm doing nothing but telling you the bad stuff about the movie, and maybe that's what I'm doing, but if you can get past all of this, then its not a bad movie at all.  Its entertaining, and even if it never hits the goal that the ambition strives for, its easy to laugh at the neighbors and their yard sale set-up, and its easy to like Larry's newfound hipster scooter friends, and watching Mercy kick out her hubby when he really stoops to new lows of scumbuckety is also great.

I would love to tell you that you should go see this, at least in a matinee, because Tom Hanks is one of those guys you just don't want to see fail, but really, I would have to tell you to Netflix or Redbox it.

If you want to see Julia Roberts with some real chemistry, though, then watch her and Clooney in "Ocean's Eleven", or her and Aaron Eckhart in "Erin Brockovich" or her and Hugh Grant in "Notting Hill", my 113th, 91st and 14th favorite films of all time, respectively...

As for Tom Hanks, watch he and Meg Ryan in the 90s.  They were like a modern day Hepburn and Tracy, and made wonderful movies together.  Oh, and he and Wilson in "Cast Away"... they had a ball together.     

The Summer of Blogging Day Thirty Three

1 comment:

  1. "They were like a modern day Hepburn and Tracy, and made wonderful movies together." I love this line.


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