In Larry Crowne Tom Hanks plays the title character an affable middle-aged floor manager at a big box department store who loses his job because he never went to college. Lacking a secondary income source (his wife divorced him a few years prior) and underwater on his mortgage he sets out to find new employment but is met with universal rejection. If any of these developments affect him in any significant way you can scarcely tell from his countenance: A plaintive drive home and the occasional watering of the eyes are the only indications of any kind of turmoil within.
All of which hints that Larry Crowne which Hanks also directed and co-wrote (with Nia Vardalos) might be one of those films in which a repressed and emotionally stunted individual gradually comes to face the pain he’s buried enjoys an epiphany or two and lets go of it all in a grand (and presumably Oscar-worthy) catharsis. (That or he shoots up a Dairy Queen.) Only it isn’t. It’s a breezy genial comedy about a guy who enrolls in a community college joins a crew of scooter-riders and hits it off with his speech teacher.
The teacher Mercedes (Julia Roberts) is everything Larry isn’t: dry cynical tired. She’s lost her passion for education and is mired in a toxic marriage with a noxious layabout (Bryan Cranston) whose novel-writing efforts are really just a cover for an internet porn obsession. There’s no reason the two should connect romantically other than the fact that he’s Tom Hanks and she’s Julia Roberts. This appraisal might as well extend to the film as a whole which skates by lazily on the charm and charisma of its two stars never deigning to proffer anything more substantial than their adorable mugs.
Among a rote and forgettable assemblage of supporting characters the only one who manages to register at all is Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) a coquettish free-spirited fellow-student who makes Larry her personal project re-arranging his living room upgrading his wardrobe and coaxing him to be more adventurous. Why she bothers to do any of this is never explained. Is she luring him into a shady business scheme? Is she the recruiter for an apocalyptic cult? An insatiable schlub fetish perhaps? Without any discernible motive we’re left to assume that she takes to him simply because he’s Tom Hanks. I mean who wouldn’t want to ride scooters with Tom Hanks? (I’ll tell you who: Al Qaida.)
Larry Crowne is a film I desperately wanted to like. Certainly its central message of perseverance and optimism in the face of hardship is a noble one. But aside from its two stars a few laughs and a handful of endearing moments there’s precious little to it. By the end of the film I felt like I barely knew any of these people despite having spent the last 90 minutes with them. Nor did I particularly want to know them. Except for Tom and Julia of course. Aren’t they just wonderful?
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Julia Roberts Acts With Everyone: Late Last Night
Julia Roberts has starred movies with everyone! In truth, it’d be more practical to play “six degrees of someone who hasn’t starred in a movie with Julia Roberts," because she’s acted with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Shirley MacLaine, Susan Sarandon, Richard Gere and Clive Owen! With connections to those people, there’s no working actor that can deny his/her connection to J. Robs. And last night, she talked to David Letterman about what it was like to work with Tom Hanks on his latest movie, in addition to sharing screen time with Biff Henderson.
Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell relived their glory days on SNL together, and how terrible Will acted towards little kids…which he feels quite bad about now that he has two minions of his own. Will also reminded Jimmy about the time Shaq cradled him and mollified him with a little song.
And for old times, the rehashed an old skit, called “real people, fake arms.”
Jay Leno spoke to Sofia Vergara of Modern Family about the deal she made: that if her show won an Emmy, she’d run down Sunset Blvd naked. But she clarified she’d rather “speed walk” than run. If she’s smart, she knows it’s not the speed of her legs we’ll be focusing on.
Jon Stewart told us the House rejected a bill that would provide health care for the first responders from 9/11. How nice of them to reject it! Phewf, seriously. I wasn’t sleeping out of fear that all those selfless people, who put themselves at risk to rescue others, would actually be rewarded for their efforts and be shown some reciprocated kindness! So glad THAT’S not happening.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10cI Give Up - 9/11 Responders Billwww.thedailyshow.comDaily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party
And Stephen Colbert talked about how Fox News is as proud of their absurdly popular ratings as you are that Prop 8 was overturned. However, he was surprised they didn’t report that just 1.38% of their viewers were black, and that Greta Van Susteren can’t tell black people apart.
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30cP.K. Winsome - Black Viewer Ratingswww.colbertnation.comColbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News
The U.S. talk show host was enjoying a break during the taping of The Late Show with David Letterman when he started passing a ball to his stage manager, Biff Henderson, who is often involved in comedy segments of the TV programme.
But Letterman's last throw to his sidekick went wrong when Henderson moved to catch the ball and tumbled off the stage in front of the studio audience. Before he knew Henderson had been hurt, Letterman quipped, "I can smell a lawsuit."
Audience member Sheva Oliver tells the New York Daily News, "They cut the cameras and the band played for about 20 minutes and that's how we all knew it was serious."
The crew cut the taping and the 63 year old was attended by medics, who moved him onto a gurney and took him to Roosevelt Hospital in an ambulance.
Henderson was treated for a leg injury and released later that night (08Feb10).