Sunday, October 1, 2023


July 1, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Who would have thought that a movie starring Hollywood nice persons Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts — and produced and directed by Hanks — would be dumped on by most critics? Well, that has turned out to be the case with Larry Crowne. Consider Peter Howell’s review in the Toronto Star: “Somewhere in a dark corner of hell, a satanic film class is waiting to study Larry Crowne” as an example of “soulless Hollywood product,” he writes. (Howell also calls the movie “brainless crapola.”) Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times acknowledges the film’s potent stars, its “good premise” and its “colorful supporting cast,” but then goes on to write: “What it doesn’t have is a reason for existing. The screenplay [co-written by Hanks and Nia Vardalos] carries blandness to a point beyond tedium.” Stephen Holden in the New York Times allows that the film occasionally elicits a few chuckles and that “the reliable if slowly fading charms of its stars lend Larry Crowne a gloss of likability. But by the time it ends, we have long ago left Earth to settle on Planet Schmaltz with a syrupy pile of French toast.” And Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times concludes his review by jeering, “If this is the best Hollywood can muster for adult audiences, we’re in for a long, hard summer.” The film does receive some polite applause from a handful of critics, Lou Lumenick of the New York Post among them. He writes: “Larry Crowne isn’t for anyone looking for edgy entertainment. … But if you’re looking for a movie you can take your parents or young children to without fear of embarrassment or the need for endless explanations, this is the one.” What we have here, says Steven Rea in the Philadelphia Inquirer, is a “summer diversion that, at least, doesn’t involve giant robots from outer space or misfit mutants plotting to nuke the planet.” It works, he concludes “on some kind of basic human scale.”