wogma rating: Watch when on TV/online (?)
Larry Crowne will make you want to take the Tom Hanks from Sleepless in Seattle and Julia Roberts from Notting Hill and cast those two in place of what you have as the cast of the film. They have chemistry, but it’s mostly in the moment. The film doesn’t have a USP, nothing new or fresh and is easily forgettable. It’s like everybody behind the film desperately tried every trick in the book to make a marketable, summer rom-com but forgot the main ingredient - relatability.Read more
Gone are the days when romantic comedies meant falling in love with a person who is the stark opposite of your personality – memorizing their dialogues, their looks and just living their lives with them. Before we knew it, When Harry Met Sally, Serendipity and Notting Hill is now No Strings Attached, What Happens in Vegas and the likes.
Somewhere you wondered where the romance of everyday people in magical circumstances got replaced with quirky sex comedies where “love” became a dangerous drug you happen to sniff by the end of the film.
The promos of Larry Crowne brought back the nostalgic feeling of the rom-coms of the 90s with a contemporary lime-twist. Tom Hanks is Larry Crowne, a popular middle-aged man working at U-mart and Julia Roberts is a teacher who’s lost her passion for the profession. Crowne gets fired from his job because of his lack of college education and he meets his teacher, Mrs. Tainot, at the public-speaking class she takes.
They’re immediately cast as opposites. He’s charming, cute in a middle-aged way and she’s uptight and cynical – just like the good old days where one character made up for the lack of qualities in another. Predictably so, they take their time to warm up to each other.
But once that’s through, the background score, the dialogues everything gets lighter, the lead pair seems pleasant with the make-me-feel-alive kind of chemistry. Oh yes, Hanks and Roberts have chemistry, which is a breeze to see. But there’s nothing beyond the chemistry. It’s like the whole film circles around that once aspect, branching out every now and then to throw in some sub-plot.
It’s not a memorable film, the kind you wouldn’t mind watching on TV while switching channels. It’s an old-fashioned, character-driven love story, and even talks about contemporary issues like the economic crunch in the US, but you could walk out of the theatre feeling unaffected and forgetting why you went in, in the first place.
More importantly, both lead characters seem to strike a friendship more than a fairytale romance. They seem like the kind who would have great conversations over coffee and a fireplace. The palpable chemistry is attributed to the well-written characters and good acting on Hanks and Roberts part, but a romance was unnecessary and just seemed forced.
Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are a marketable pair; it would have been a far more interesting film if it broke the stereotype of the compulsive need to make a lead pair fall in love. Otherwise, Larry Crowne is an average film, which you wouldn’t feel for whether you watched it or not. Watch it only if you possess undying love for either Hanks or Roberts.
This review is by guest reviewer Swetha Ramakrishnan. Swetha Ramakrishnan is currently living and working in Mumbai. She's a self-confessed film enthusiast and can most likely be found talking to anyone and everyone about popular cinema and her love for SRK. Swetha Ramakrishnan also blogs at http://swetharamakrishnan.blogspot.com/.
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