Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks) went into the Navy after high school, then started working at a big box store in suburbia, California where he languished for twenty years in an upbeat and middle class life. Until he got laid off. The mortgage on his house upside down because he bought out the ex-wife, not a day of college in his life, he quickly finds that he must start over again. He enrolls in college, where he gets drawn into a young scooter-driving crowd that teaches him how to break out of his middle-age rut. A new hair cut, a new wardrobe, a new apartment and a job as a short-order cook catapult him back into college-age, and he likes it. Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts) is his instructor in Speech 217. She hates her husband, her work and her life and teeters on the dark edge of alcoholism. Larry and Mercedes come together from entirely different directions in an attempt to clean up the messes of their lives.
This is a light comedy, written and directed by Tom Hanks. It’s like Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts sat down in a diner one day, bored with nothing to do and no big important movie to make, and they baked this idea up on a napkin story board. Then he made this movie. The acting power of those two stars pulled this through. Otherwise it would have been an useless film. Larry Crowne is a feel-good movie with no redeeming value. It made me wonder what it would be like to cast off all my burdens and go back to college. Would I enjoy bouncing around with twenty-somethings, tending bar to make a living, while taking art-classes?
Maybe I would.