Larry Crowne Isn't Really Romantic—or Funny
Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks movie doesn't live up to promise
By Tim Karan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2011 1:05 PM CDT
In this film publicity image released by Universal Pictures, Julia Roberts, left, and Tom Hanks are shown in a scene from "Larry Crowne."   (AP Photo/Universal Pictures, Bruce Talamon)

(Newser) – Critics are finding plenty to laugh at in Larry Crowne, just not much of what writer/director/star Tom Hanks planned on. With a 36% rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes, the romantic-comedy co-starring Julia Roberts is about a middle-aged man making huge changes, but there's little you haven't seen a thousand times before. Its blandness even has some mourning the death of vintage-style movie stars.

  • "As romantic comedies go, Larry Crowne is neither swooningly romantic nor howlingly funny," writes Michael O'Sullivan in the Washington Post. "Like the scooter gang that’s central to the film’s plot—and Larry’s metamorphosis—Larry Crowne putters down the middle of the road with its helmet strapped on tight. It’s a safe, non-risk-taking ride."
  • Claudia Puig of USA Today blames co-writer Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Maybe if Hanks "had teamed with a more agile writer, less given to cheesy yuck-fests, Larry Crowne would be the nuanced adult love story it aims to be."
  • Others can't understand how the movie was even made. "You wonder who thought any of this was funny," writes John Anderson in the Wall Street Journal. "It is a distinctly painful experience."