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Larry Crowne

09 Jul

Larry Crowne – Directed and written (also written by Nia Vardalos) by Tom Hanks. Romantic Comedy. A middle-aged man has to go to college and meets a beautiful mean teacher. 98 minutes Color 2011

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Julie Roberts is married to a half-baked couch potato. Tom Hanks is married to his job, but looses it because he does not have a college degree. So he signs up for junior college and, taking a class in private speaking, meets Julia Roberts. Now Miss Roberts seems to have grown into a woman in the past few years, which now puts her in mind of the great stars of the 30s and 40s, all of whom were women. The female stars of Miss Roberts’ era were never women; they were gals, every one of them. And some of the best light comediennes among them have disappeared, Meg Ryan and that national treasure Goldie Hawn. But Julia Roberts has soldiered on, and with this part she occupies a new field of artistic enterprise. She reminds one of Joan Crawford in that her face is incapable of a subtlety, due to her broad features, but unlike Joan Crawford she can play comedy. She, like Crawford, can also play grim, and that is what we get a thought too much of in her performance in the beginning of this entertainment. But when things loosen up between Mr. Hanks and her, we are in the realm of master comedy actors at play at the top of their present game. Until that time the comedy is handled by Bryan Cranston in an Oscar-due performance as the potato and Gugu mBatha-Raw, playing a classmate of great talent, charm, and sex appeal who plays Hanks flirtatious make-over Svengali, and Rita Wilson who is excruciatingly on the money as a bank mortgage manager. Tom Hanks back on his funny bone again, has grown, as he should, into an actor who can absorb the comic possibilities of a situation without demonstrating about it all over the place. Watch his bemusement and reserve as he plays the gentleman on Julia Robert doorstep, when she is looped. He was always good, now he’s better. Larry Crowne is a good grown-up comedy for grown-ups, and it pleases, beguiles, and satisfies just that old natural appetite.

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