'Larry Crowne' Is 'Hollow And Unconvincing'

Jul 1, 2011
Originally published on July 1, 2011 1:12 pm
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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Our film critic, Kenneth Turan, is keeping his eye on the movie screen. In the new movie "Larry Crowne" he finds big names but not a big success.

KENNETH TURAN: Hanks plays Larry Crowne, an ordinary guy facing a midlife crisis. Larry is an enthusiastic employee at big-box store U-Mart, a man so devoted to his job he cheerfully picks up trash in the store parking lot on the way in to work.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "LARRY CROWNE")

INSKEEP: (as character) Larry Crowne to the common break area. It's employee of the month day. How many will this be?

TOM HANKS: (as Larry Crowne) Oh, I'm not saying - nine.

TURAN: Unidentified Woman (Actor): (as character) Larry.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "LARRY CROWNE")

HANKS: Unidentified Man #2 (Actor): (as character) (Unintelligible) better than a job - an education.

TURAN: At East Valley Community College, Larry signs up for a class in public speaking taught by Mercedes, played by Julia Roberts, who really doesn't want to be there.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "LARRY CROWNE")

JULIA ROBERTS: (as Mercedes) The state charter requires a minimum of 10 students per class or else it costs more for us to be here than not. So I mean, did you really want a class at 8:00 a.m.? I didn't.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

TURAN: For one thing, the on-screen chemistry between Hanks and Roberts is less than zero. If this is the best the studios can muster for adult audiences, we're in for a long, hard summer.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the L.A. Times. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.