Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 12A
  • Drama
  • 2011

Larry Crowne

Larry Crowne

Synopsis

A middle-aged, unemployed man (Tom Hanks) goes back to school to be taught a lesson by Julia Roberts. Also stars Cedric The Entertainer

About

Everyone likes pasta. It's reliable, inoffensive, nourishing. It might not be as exciting as the sauces, the spices, the meat, the cheese, the fish, but it's an essential bedrock. A bowl of sauce without pasta would not a meal make. But you wouldn't want a bowl of just plain pasta - boiled, no seasoning, no nothing - either. Would you?

Larry Crowne is an inoffensive film. It fills the time, it's wholesome, stolid. You may be able to see where I'm going with this. Yep, it's a plain pasta movie. It details the life of a man, Larry Crowne (played by Tom Hanks, who also directs and wrote the screenplay) in his mid-fifties who, upon being made redundant, decides to go back to college, where he studies for a qualification under a brittle teacher (Julia Roberts) in a troubled marriage. He is also given a makeover by a sublimely obnoxious twenty-something free spirit, and rides around on a scooter a bit.

This blandfest has practically nothing in the way of dramatic conflict, or jeopardy. There's no danger, no tension, no sauce, no spice. Everything happens pretty much exactly the way you think it will happen, and what happens is not so radical. Even the most predictable of rom-coms know that there must be at least a contrived misunderstanding, a dastardly villain or dramatic set piece for its characters to navigate.

Larry Crowne just feels flat. Nobody wants every film to pack a challenging emotional gut punch, have you rolling in the aisles with laughter, have you chewing your nails to bloody stumps, watching with revulsion through your fingers, or sobbing into your popcorn. But Larry Crowne is so much the opposite of all these things, it's difficult to see quite what they were aiming for. I suspect it's supposed to be a heart-warming drama. It left my heart lukewarm, and there's precious little drama.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Cedric The Entertainer, Julia Roberts, George Takei, Pam Grier, Tom Hanks
  • Director: Tom Hanks
  • Screen Writer: Tom Hanks, Nia Vardalos
  • Producer: Gary Goetzman
  • Photographer: Philippe Rousselot
  • Composer: James Newton Howard

In a nutshell

A nice idea but something of a misfire - it's not telling us anything new and it's hard to really care what happens to these characters.

by Catherine Bray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    Apache Territory

    Western with Rory Calhoun. A drifter finds himself in charge of a desperate stand against Apache warriors who are determined to either expel incomers from their domain or kill them.

    On Film4: 31 May 11:00AM

  • Film4

    I Wish

    Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda's critically acclaimed, charming drama explores the lives of two young brothers whose parents have separated.

    On Film4: 31 May 1:00AM

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House 2016

    Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House, London¿s groundbreaking open-air film festival, returns between 4-17 August, with a prestigious programme of classic and contemporary films, and a total of thr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Cannes 2016: Top Five Picks

    Catherine Bray rounds up her top five picks from what she saw at the 69th Cannes Film Festival across all strands. [caption id="attachment_5354" align="alignnone" width="300"] Toni Erdmann by Maren A

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share