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Larry Crowne

After losing his job, a middle-aged man reinvents himself by going back to college.

Rating: 6 out of 10

On the surface, this is another cheesy romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. While there are romantic moments, this movie is a little more than that, and better than I thought it would be.

Tom Hanks directed and co-wrote this film, starring himself in a pretty smart role. Hanks plays Larry Crowne, who in the opening scenes is cut from his job at a retail big box store because he doesn’t have a college education. Even though he’s a star employee and well liked by co-workers, he’s considered obsolete and can’t be moved up the corporate ladder because of his lack of education. He’s also a divorcee and military veteran with a¬†dazzlingly¬†likable personality. Enter Julia Roberts, the bitter professor stuck in community college teaching apathetic students while living with a very unhappy marriage.

The two, of course, collide when he takes her class. But that’s not the focus of the movie. The movie is Crowne learning to get back on his feet while going through a very difficult period of losing his job, his home, and realizing he needs to change his life. The love comes as a very subtle element, and it’s not the focus of the film.

There are lots of cornball moments. The college students are way too nice and accepting of him. He joins them in a scooter gang, for instance. There are certainly some cheese-tastic moments. But it’s smarter than it lets on in trailers. Not a bad date night movie if you catch it on Showtime.