Larry Crowne [Blu-Ray] Tom Hanks

Larry Crowne [Blu-Ray] Tom Hanks
Understanding that Larry Crowne was co-written by My Big Fat Greek Wedding scribe Nia Vardalos, the desperate, strained and painfully broad humour within, wherein the miracles of texting and Feng Shui are du rigueur, doesn't come as a surprise. It does, however, come as a major annoyance, seeing as the relentless cutesy demeanour and one-note dynamic of all the supporting characters, who are literally reduced to single-serving signifiers, service only rudimentary Full House laughs, existing as vulgar ciphers to propel the journey of the similarly frustrating, titular Larry Crowne (Tom Hanks). His quest of misguided self-discovery comes after he's laid off from some ersatz variation on Target and forced to sell his worldly belongings just to survive. Rather than give up, the industrious Larry goes back to school, where he meets the unrealistically free-spirited,helpful Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and the jaded, unhappily married professor, Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts). While Mercedes grumbles to herself like a schizophrenic, getting in drunken arguments with her breast-obsessed husband (Bryan Cranston), Larry gets a new haircut, new wardrobe, scooter and a whole host of other superficial bullshit, care of the overly plucky Talia, which of course makes his life utterly fantastic. In fact, the time spent with Hanks reacting goofily to his nifty new threads, occasionally arguing playfully with Talia's boyfriend, Dell (Wilder Valderrama literally doing his Fez voice), outweighs any and all romantic progress between him and Roberts, making their inexplicable feelings perplexing and extremely off-putting. Similarly off-putting is the clumsy Tom Petty soundtrack and the inclusion of Cedric the Entertainer as a perpetually bartering neighbour that seemingly holds a yard sale year round. Not a single moment of Larry Crowne holds any shred of originality or sincerity, instead acting as a crude mishmash of misguided rom-com variants from decades passed. Why anyone would think this script should have been translated to film is beyond me. The special features included with the Blu-Ray shed no light on this, instead delving into a brief "Making of" that literally just regurgitates the plot. There are also some behind-the-scenes gags, where the entire crew learns to knit just to impress nascent mommy Julia Roberts. I guess you had to be there. (Alliance)