Larry Crowne [Blu-ray]
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104 of 107 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2011
I see a lot of reviews that aren't positive and mention that this movie isn't funny. I think it might be because Hollywood decided to market this movie as something it wasn't. It's not a romantic comedy. It is, however, a very good movie about people who aren't 25 or even 35, and how they realize they don't have to be stuck in a situation that isn't good, just because of their age. Tom Hanks does a great job as "Lance" and Julia Roberts and he have real chemistry on screen. This movie has no explosions, no fast cars, no half-naked women. What it does have is good acting and an interesting and entertaining story. Above all, it demonstrates that no matter your age, we are all still trying to figure life out.
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59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2011
"I was downsized, I'm here to make sure that never happens again." After thinking he will receive his 9th employee of the month award, Larry (Hanks) is fired because he never went to college. After talking to his neighbor he decides to enroll and change his life. Going in I was thinking, Tom Hanks is in this...this will be good. After watching it I have to say it was even better then I expected it to be. Besides the obvious great acting watching a 50 year old man start his life over is pretty inspiring to watch. This is not an Oscar worthy movie, but this is the type of movie you can watch over and over again. Every now and then I really like watching the light hearted type movies that are just fun and stress free to watch. This is a perfect example of that. Overall, a must see movie that will leave you feeling good after you are done. I give it an A.

*Also try - Eat, Pray, Love & Everything Must Go
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon November 14, 2011
Larry Crowne `with an E' (Tom Hanks) is dropped from employment at UMart even with his stellar record including 8 employee-of-the-months. He's at midlife, 20 year Navy vet, but has to college degree. No future at UMart. Out!
Wilma (Rita Wilson, Hank's real wife) from the bank loan desk suggests life changes due to finances. College classes are the obvious answer and Larry enrolls into a Speech 217 class with Ms Mercades `Mercy' Teinot (Julia Roberts) his teacher. "'Tai-no' not `Tai-NO'" instructs the sour teacher a bit grumpy from living with a porn fanatic. Don't expect a sudden romance on this scene.

An unexpected flirtatious delight is student Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw -also HOT in `Bonekickers') who takes Larry under her wing and gets him involved in a scooter gang. This takes form of some Gump-like events. The speech class is quite a mix of 9 other quirky characters including Natalie (Grace Gummer, Meryl Streep's daughter-you can't miss that face).
Mercy is called "washboard" by her boob-loving spouse, soon to be discarded. Later viewed in a low-cut dress, Mercy proves she's not flat--she's a Pretty Woman. That leaves a romance available, right? Not so fast.

If you were expecting lots of bed scenes, skin, and raucous behavior, you will be disappointed. This will not be a 5-star movie for the under-40s. Older adults, mid-life through Boomers like a romance that has some intellect mixed with emotion, and from that perspective, this romantic comedy works. After all the economy has everyone relating to job loss, low income, loosing a home, reentry into a new job, and here we have a fun, but truthful picture of that struggle in life.

Theatre ticket price plus gas and popcorn, may have been a bit costly, but the value comes in the DVD version now that it's available. And of course quite fun for Hanks and Roberts fans.
Try an added reminisctic romp through Mystic Pizza (1988), best viewed in a hotel room in Mystic, Connecticut--love that Roberts.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Larry Crowne, directed by Tom Hanks, from a screenplay by Tom Hanks and Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) is not a deep movie, which is disappointing because it could have been. But that said, Hanks and Vardalos get a lot of the important stuff right and as a result Larry Crowne hits home in a lot of ways. The issues it touches on - job loss, divorce, worry about losing your house, having to start your life all over again both career-wise and romantically - are things that will connect and resonate with a lot of people these days.

The title character, Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) is a likeable guy who works hard at his job as a "team leader" at the local U-Mart where he's worked every day since doing 20 years in the Navy right out of high school. He enjoys his job, likes his co-workers who like him in return, and has been voted Employee-of-the-Month multiple times. And so it comes as a complete shock when he's summoned by the management who tell him that they're letting him go because he doesn't have a college degree. Which is disastrous news for Larry as his house is underwater mortgage-wise and finding a new job is proving nigh impossible. Encouraged by his next-door neighbor Lamar (Cedric the Entertainer), who's been running a perpetual yard-sale on his front lawn for the last ten years, Larry decides to go to the local college and get a degree that will, in Lamar's words "make you fire-proof!" One of the courses he ends up taking is a public-speaking course taught by Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts), a teacher who's suffering from burn-out in her job and disenchantment with her marriage. Predictably, and yet without succumbing to easy cliche, a cautious spark of romance begins to kindle between them as each begins to move beyond their set-backs and disappointments and towards re-starting their lives.

There are a number of key scenes where the film really strikes a resonating chord with what a lot of people have either been through or going through in recent years. The early scene where Larry is being fired is priceless where the managers use convoluted corporate-speak language to make it sound like they're doing Larry a favor by firing him. Another scene is where Larry is at the bank trying to talk to them about his underwater mortgage and the same thing happens as they talk him into doing whatever he can to continue making payments even though there's no way he can sell the house or keep up with the payments, again using contorted bank-speak to make it sound like they're acting in his interests and not their own.

The supporting cast is excellent and really helps keep things interesting with stand-out performances by Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Talia, a hurricane-on-wheels of irrepressible perkiness who takes charge of giving Larry a new look as well as a new set of friends, and manages to do a feng-shui makeover of his house in the process; Wilmer Valderamma as Del, Talia's frequently glowering and much put-upon boyfriend; Malcolm Barrett as Dave Mack, a student in the public speaking class who, against type, turns out to be a major Trekkie; and George Takei has a delightfully dry comic turn as the serenely self-important Dr. Matsutani who teaches Larry's Economics 101 class. And Cedric the Entertainer does another grand scene-stealing turn as Lamar, who lives to haggle with people at his never-ending yard sale.

And in the why-is-that-face-or-voice-familiar? category: Grace Gummer who plays Natalie, one of Larry's fellow students, is in real-life the daughter of Meryl Streep, to whom she bears a striking resemblance; Rita Wilson, who plays the let-me-not-help-you bank rep Wilma Gammelgaard, is Tom Hanks' wife in real life; and Nia Vardalos supplies the voice of the annoying Map Genie GPS system in Mercedes' car.

On the somewhat minus side however, Bryan Cranston, who was brilliant in TV's Malcolm in the Middle and Breaking Bad, doesn't seem to quite hit the mark as Mercedes' shiftless porn-addicted husband, Dean. And Pam Grier is largely wasted in her role as Frances, Mercedes' friend and fellow teacher.

The one real drawback to Larry Crowne is that it never digs very deep, particularly on the emotional level, in spite of all the stressful life-changing events Larry and Mercedes are facing. Hanks' Larry, for example, _never_ gets angry, in spite of his being fired for inane reasons, having to face losing his house, etc. Neither does Roberts' Mercedes, no matter how much her husband lets her down or insults her. Annoyed or peeved is about as far as they go. Hanks and Vardalos, as director and writers, could have gone for more, given the things Larry and Mercedes must deal with in their personal lives, but they just keep things fairly light. Which is not bad exactly, as the film is enjoyable. But in the end, you're left with the feeling that they could have gone for more.

Again, while Larry Crowne is not a terribly deep film, it does connect in a lot of ways, and I think a lot of people will relate to it. Recommended for anyone who wants to find something whimsically upbeat and hopeful about dealing with the things life can throw at you these days.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Larry Crowne, directed by Tom Hanks, from a screenplay by Tom Hanks and Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) is not a deep movie, which is disappointing because it could have been. But that said, Hanks and Vardalos get a lot of the important stuff right and as a result Larry Crowne hits home in a lot of ways. The issues it touches on - job loss, divorce, worry about losing your house, having to start your life all over again both career-wise and romantically - are things that will connect and resonate with a lot of people these days.

The title character, Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) is a likeable guy who works hard at his job as a "team leader" at the local U-Mart where he's worked every day since doing 20 years in the Navy right out of high school. He enjoys his job, likes his co-workers who like him in return, and has been voted Employee-of-the-Month multiple times. And so it comes as a complete shock when he's summoned by the management who tell him that they're letting him go because he doesn't have a college degree. Which is disastrous news for Larry as his house is underwater mortgage-wise and finding a new job is proving nigh impossible. Encouraged by his next-door neighbor Lamar (Cedric the Entertainer), who's been running a perpetual yard-sale on his front lawn for the last ten years, Larry decides to go to the local college and get a degree that will, in Lamar's words "make you fire-proof!" One of the courses he ends up taking is a public-speaking course taught by Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts), a teacher who's suffering from burn-out in her job and disenchantment with her marriage. Predictably, and yet without succumbing to easy cliche, a cautious spark of romance begins to kindle between them as each begins to move beyond their set-backs and disappointments and towards re-starting their lives.

There are a number of key scenes where the film really strikes a resonating chord with what a lot of people have either been through or going through in recent years. The early scene where Larry is being fired is priceless where the managers use convoluted corporate-speak language to make it sound like they're doing Larry a favor by firing him. Another scene is where Larry is at the bank trying to talk to them about his underwater mortgage and the same thing happens as they talk him into doing whatever he can to continue making payments even though there's no way he can sell the house or keep up with the payments, again using contorted bank-speak to make it sound like they're acting in his interests and not their own.

The supporting cast is excellent and really helps keep things interesting with stand-out performances by Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Talia, a hurricane-on-wheels of irrepressible perkiness who takes charge of giving Larry a new look as well as a new set of friends, and manages to do a feng-shui makeover of his house in the process; Wilmer Valderamma as Del, Talia's frequently glowering and much put-upon boyfriend; Malcolm Barrett as Dave Mack, a student in the public speaking class who, against type, turns out to be a major Trekkie; and George Takei has a delightfully dry comic turn as the serenely self-important Dr. Matsutani who teaches Larry's Economics 101 class. And Cedric the Entertainer does another grand scene-stealing turn as Lamar, who lives to haggle with people at his never-ending yard sale.

And in the why-is-that-face-or-voice-familiar? category: Grace Gummer who plays Natalie, one of Larry's fellow students, is in real-life the daughter of Meryl Streep, to whom she bears a striking resemblance; Rita Wilson, who plays the let-me-not-help-you bank rep Wilma Gammelgaard, is Tom Hanks' wife in real life; and Nia Vardalos supplies the voice of the annoying Map Genie GPS system in Mercedes' car.

On the somewhat minus side however, Bryan Cranston, who was brilliant in TV's Malcolm in the Middle and Breaking Bad, doesn't seem to quite hit the mark as Mercedes' shiftless porn-addicted husband, Dean. And Pam Grier is largely wasted in her role as Frances, Mercedes' friend and fellow teacher.

The one real drawback to Larry Crowne is that it never digs very deep, particularly on the emotional level, in spite of all the stressful life-changing events Larry and Mercedes are facing. Hanks' Larry, for example, _never_ gets angry, in spite of his being fired for inane reasons, having to face losing his house, etc. Neither does Roberts' Mercedes, no matter how much her husband lets her down or insults her. Annoyed or peeved is about as far as they go. Hanks and Vardalos, as director and writers, could have gone for more, given the things Larry and Mercedes must deal with in their personal lives, but they just keep things fairly light. Which is not bad exactly, as the film is enjoyable. But in the end, you're left with the feeling that they could have gone for more.

Again, while Larry Crowne is not a terribly deep film, it does connect in a lot of ways, and I think a lot of people will relate to it. Recommended for anyone who wants to find something whimsically upbeat and hopeful about dealing with the things life can throw at you these days.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2012
This movie inspired me to go back to school after my last layoff. I am attending online for my Associates, and I am half-way there training for a new career at 59. You do not have to be a movie star to do this. Check it out for yourself!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2012
I liked the movie. Julia Roberts was as lovely as ever. Tom Hanks had a nice turn around in the film from frump to somewhat of a middle aged hunk. I appreciated the theme of finding oneself/reinventing oneself/establishing your own identity. The ending was a bit much, but nice for a happy ending.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2012
Romantic comedy doesn't disappoint you.... light hearted, and very entertaining..it leaves you with such a good feeling that you want to see it again...it is an excellent rental !!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2012
Personally I usually don't like very much that kind of light movie, but that one is really underrated, I even believe that "Larry Crowne" could be compared to classics like "Pretty Woman" or "Sleepless in Seattle". One of the main real problems is that the theme of the movie is basically boring, a guy losing his work and trying to find a new one, however everything possible have been done to "push up" that idea, from the excellent actors to the quality of the writing who is really excellent. The acting of everybody is really really brilliant, seeing that is an eye candy... In my opinion technically it could be seen as one of the best directorial debut someone could have, but there's some flaws here and there... For one thing there's the title, it's sad to say but it's not a very popular name who inspire confidence or encourage peoples to go see the movie, I even believe many peoples didn't like it just because of that... Something like "A Year In The Life Of Mr. Crowne" would have sold the movie better... And there's the song "Hold On Tight" by Electric Light Orchestra who is played at the very beginning, it's a very entertaining song but not subtle at all (in my opinion one of the stupidest song of the 80s)... Also on the technical side the quality of the picture is really really horrible, cinematographer Philippe Rousselot usually does a really incredible work, I don't know what happened this time... Overall I really recommend seeing it even if only because it's a Tom Hanks movie, personally I've seen it two time at the theater and I've been much entertained each time, I prefered that one to mediocrities he did like "The Da Vinci Code"...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 20, 2012
Micro review: Tom Hanks = feel good movie. Plenty of mild humor, touching storyline, an everyman hero everyone wants to cheer on.

Longer review...Tom Hanks is Larry Crowne. Larry loves his job and excels at it. He's divorced, ex-military and comfortably settled into being alone but not lonely. Then, just when he thought he could live his life out in complacent bliss, he's called to a meeting with his boss. Thinking he's a shoe-in for his ninth round of employee of the month he is devastated to learn that not only is he not, he's out of a job.

The solution to avoiding this same fate elsewhere is college...so he enrolls. There he meets a gang of scooter and motorcycle riding young adults who change his look and his life. And he encounters his speech teacher, Mercy (Julia Roberts). Mercy does not love her job and she does not love her life. She is married to a selfish man and embittered by students who don't care.

There are moments of cheesiness in this film. Mercy lets out a tirade with an F-Bomb or two, and her husband is into buxom women and a few of bikini clad chest shots show up on his computer screen, other than that, the film is refreshingly clean. Larry Crowne's game-show-retiree, perpetual-garage-sale holding neighbors are possibly the best part of the movie.

This is a light watch with some meaningful moments and entertainment. If that's what you are looking for, then give it a shot. Definitely worth a Red Box rental.
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