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Larry Crowne


Stars: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Cedric the Entertainer, Taraji P. Henson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wilmer Valderrama, Bryan Cranston, Pam Grier, Rita Wilson, George Takei

Director: Tom Hanks

Hanks’ delightfully conceived and executed performance on UK television’s ‘Graham Norton Show’ as an All-American Everyman out to prove his endemic niceness was a pleasure. In fact, it was every bit as deliberately charming as the title character he plays in this painless and all-too-easy to forget romcom.

He ambles along playing a divorced fifty-something former US Navy serviceman who, fired from his job in a supermarket, decides to catch up with the education he missed by enrolling as a student in a local community college. There he turns out to be Mr Nice Guy incarnate, joining a group of young scooter-riders and generally appealing to all and sundry and then falling for about-to-be-divorced lecturer Roberts, a plot twist that only a cinema virgin could fail to predict…

Hanks, whose innate modesty is visible when his name appears a mere five times in the opening credits, directs without making any noticeable mistakes (apart, that is, from his fluctuating hair colour which an actor/critic confirmed was indeed fairly obvious) or noticeable style, and extracts pleasing performances from all concerned except for Takei (Star Trek’s Mr Sulu) who hams it up energetically as an economics lecturer whose main preoccupation appears to be to sell his class notes to his students. For the record, Hanks also produced and co-scripted with Nina Vardalos.

Roberts’ performance oozes charm on automatic pilot with her trademark Cinemascope smile lighting up lightweight scenes, Cedric the Entertainer once again proves his screen name to be a misnomer and Mbatha-Raw is cute if forgettable. Just like the film.

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Optimum. Colour by deluxe.
98 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 30 Jun 2011