‘Larry Crowne’ is a refreshingly clean romantic comedy

July 02, 2011

Those expecting “Larry Crowne” to be a sweep you off your feet romance between two of Hollywood’s biggest stars will be sorely disappointed, but that hardly makes this light, rom-com a bad movie.

Rather than relying on dramatic romantic-comedy cliché, stock characters, sex or dirty humor, or even gritty heartbreaking realism — “Larry Crowne” goes for an original, fun, light-hearted romance with a distinct slow-paced indie style.

Frankly, I absolutely loved it.

Tom Hanks plays protagonist Larry Crowne, a divorced, middle-aged, retired Navy veteran turned retail store worker, who at the beginning of the film is laid off due to a lack of college education.

Hanks doesn’t portray Crowne with the same level of emotion or realism audiences might expect from the man who starred in “Forrest Gump,” “You’ve Got Mail,” or “Cast Away.” Larry Crowne is simple, sensible, and a very likeable, optimistic, blue-collar guy temporarily down on his luck. Rather than turn to unemployment he goes back to school where he enrolls in an entry level communications class taught by Mrs. Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts).

For most of the film, her story parallels Crowne with their only interactions being in class. Tainot is a depressed woman, who has little faith that her teaching is making a difference on students. She is a little too fond of her bottle of rum, and is married to an unemployed professor-turned-jerk blogger who spends his days at home viewing pornography.

What I liked most about this film was that this wasn’t a dramatic story about a naughty, taboo teacher/student affair. It was merely a look at two people undergoing some significant life changes with budding romance as a byproduct.

There wasn’t even any sex in the film, which by today’s Hollywood standards is mindboggling. In fact, all audiences get is a goodnight kiss between Crowne and a drunken Tainot after which he says, “time to do the right thing,” and pushes her into her house and shuts the door.

It was a clean, feel-good romance, that while a little unrealistic at times, gave me some confidence that there are still people in Hollywood that believe courtship does not involve sex on the first date, and that fidelity in marriage is an admirable trait.

Joining the cast is Cedric the Entertainer as Crowne’s wise, comedic neighbor, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Talia, a fellow student who invites Crowne to become part of her scooter gang and gives him a youthful makeover, and George Takei as a very funny and eccentric economics professor.

My only complaint was that the college environment showed in the film was a little too unrealistic — kind of like a TV sitcom. There was almost no language, no sex, no partying and no drama. Plus, since Talia’s ‘gang’ all rode around on little scooters, at times it felt like I was watching a shallow episode of “Happy Days” or “Boy Meets World.”

Still it served to keep the film light and clean, which is a refreshing change from the frat boy/sorority comedy we get from most college-esque films these days.

Overall this gets a HOT (4.5 of 5) rating from me.

In terms of content, “Larry Crowne,” is appropriate for almost everyone. It does include one F-word, which is about the only language in the film, and a couple of brief sexually suggestive images.

It’s likely not the kind of film that children or teens will enjoy, though, so I’d suggest making this one a date movie.

Source : Nate and Tony at the movies