Larry Crowne wants Larry to move past the things associated with his earlier marriage, and those things apparently include his home. It wants Larry to feel liberated, so it has him firmly confront a loan officer (Rita Wilson, Hanks' real-life wife) who may be trying to get him to keep his house at all costs. He tells her he’s prepared for foreclosure. This supposed signal of financial prudence is a head-scratcher. Are we, the audience, supposed to cheer Larry’s behavior?

Everything Must Go, a film from earlier this year, did a better job of showing a character’s similar struggles with life’s disappointments, but that film was much more narrowly focused (to its benefit) than is Larry Crowne, which wants to be a socially-relevant romantic comedy. The problem is that the social relevance is poorly executed, the romance has no spark and the comedy—the best thing Larry Crowne has going for it—too sporadic, with punch lines that become increasingly predictable.

On the positive side, Hanks’ film is rather gentle and both he and Roberts still have great screen presence. What the film needed was a bit more edge, a little less sap and a much sharper focus. As it is, Larry Crowne spreads itself too thin in trying to appeal to too many audience segments. A more disciplined script and director would have served the film well, but with Hanks serving as director, co-writer and star, Larry Crowne stands as an example of how star-driven vehicles can suffer from bloat. It’s not a terrible film, but it should have been much better than it is. 

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity: Lord’s name taken in vain; the “f” word; “tukus”; “buttocks”; a cell phone ring plays the song “Stroke Me”; “kiss my a-s”; “hell”; crude term for a man’s penis.
  • Alcohol/Smoking/Drugs: A few scenes of pipe smoking; Mercedes drinks often and is called “Booze-zilla” by her husband; speaking about the high point of her day, Mercedes says, “I’m drinking it”; a student makes a couple of veiled references to drug use; a verbal reference to “demon rum.”
  • Sex/Nudity: Mercedes’ husband looks at scantily-clad women on his computer; his wife accuses him of looking at pornography, and the husband says it’s “barely porn”; he says he has a thing for large-breasted women; passionate kissing, sometimes under the influence of alcohol; we see Larry’s rear end, covered by underwear, while he tries on some pants; encouragement to Larry to “cop a feel”; Larry kisses an inebriated Mercedes but refuses to come into her home, saying it’s time for both of them “to do the right thing”; a tattoo shown on a woman’s lower back.
  • Violence/Crime: None.
  • Religion/Morals: A co-worker of Larry’s says he and the other men are “getting our clocks cleaned by our ex-wives”; a friend asks Mercedes what sin she committed that caused her to have to teach an 8 a.m. class; Lamar tells Larry that the best way to avoid divorce problems is to stay married; Mercedes proceeds to divorce her husband and pursues a relationship with Larry.
     

Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at crosswalkchristian@hotmail.com.