Larry Crowne

Photo: Vendome International

Starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. Directed by Tom Hanks. 98 minutes. PG

Larry Crowne is an indie(ish) film that seems like a high production film posing as an indie film. It's also directed by, co-written by and starring Tom Hanks; so it's like Tom Hanks: The Movie. And the whole time it's got this we're-good-friends-playing-lovers-and-we-think-that's-hilarious vibe going on. In short, it's very weird.

If you haven't already seen the trailer, the film follows Larry Crowne, who's just been let go from his Walmart-esque job because he doesn't have a college degree. So, he enrols in college. And then starts crushing on his teacher. You know how it goes.

As usual, Hanks and Julia Roberts are pretty good, though only separately. Their chemistry is off. It's like they know they're playing dress-up and they think it's the biggest joke ever. Their romance doesn't progress very realistically. It's almost as if someone sectioned off the script in two parts: the "strangers" half and the "in-love" half.

It's also sad to have the Nia Vardalos we are so often proud of (she wrote My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Connie and Carla... OK, maybe I'm just a big fan) attached to this script. Yes, big career step for her but in retrospect will probably be a stain.

It also feels that Talia's (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) entire purpose in the film was to add quirk. But it's way too overloaded and just comes across as ingenuine. She rides a scooter and has a faux-scooter gang. She's obsessed with thrift store scavenging. And she's a feng shui master. Oh, and she also kisses everyone on the lips. It's just too much.

I can't put it any other way except that this movie is just bad. I keep asking myself why I wanted to see this and I can't come up with any justifiable reason. Just don't do it. Not even on half-price Tuesday. D+

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