I saw “Larry Crowne” over the summer with my mom. I thought it was boring, and she thought it was boring. And that’s saying something.
“Larry Crowne” is your quintessential mom-rom-com. You know, the kind of cutesy romantic comedy movie your mom really wants to see, but your dad is always just “too busy” with “work” to go with her, so you get stuck going instead. Think “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” or “Mamma Mia!”
Tom Hanks, the safest actor on the planet today, plays Larry Crowne, a man past his prime in a world moving too fast for him. He’s been fired from his job for not having a college degree, so he decides to go to community college with all the young’uns to earn one. Hilarity ensues.
Except that it doesn’t. “Larry Crowne” panders to the older crowd every chance it gets: Hanks is constantly baffled by the young people around him and their strange ways. He just can’t seem to get the hang of texting, and I’ll be damned if he didn’t pull out his very best “bewildered” face when the college kids decided to give him a full makeover.
Even the plot is just a thin excuse to wax poetic on “the good old days,” whenever those were, and see Hanks romance Julia Roberts, the safest actress on the planet today, like only an old-fashioned gentleman could. He charms, she resists, he pursues and she swoons. Tried and true, nothing new.
This wouldn’t be that bad, honestly, if it had just executed on its premise well enough. There’s nothing wrong with a safe mom-rom-com every now and again, but when it plays it so safe that even my mom is yawning, you’ve got a serious problem.
And frankly, as a college kid, I found the portrayal of our generation to be a little insulting. Take Rami Malek’s role, for example. Malek, who you might remember from such hits as “The War at Home” and “Night at the Museum,” plays a weird, wide-eyed student with the IQ of a cantaloupe who takes phone calls in class and seems perpetually stoned. If you listen closely, you can just hear the old people in the audience wheezing their approval at a spot-on representation of today’s youth.
Worse than being insulting, though, is being dull, something “Larry Crowne” excels in. If you’re really looking for something to have on in the background that won’t distract you while you do your homework, this is your movie.
“Larry Crowne” is the kind of movie that’s just inoffensive enough that, if it came on TV late one night and the remote was just out of reach, you’d probably leave it on, fade in and out for awhile, then fall asleep.
Image courtesy of dadsbigplan.com