Thursday, March 27, 2014

3 Short Paragraphs: Larry Crowne

2011, Tom Hanks -- Netflix

Tom Hanks is an affable kind of guy, not the kind you would think of being a lead in a romantic comedy. And yes, I am ignoring the fact that he starred in two of the most popular romantic comedies of the 90s (Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail). He's almost 60, kind of pudgy and still carries himself in the awkward kind of way that betrays his comedian roots. And yes, here he is opposite Julia Roberts in a meek-shall-inherit-the-earth role. I still have a thing for Julia because we share a fondness for a stack of buttered toast so I think Tom Hanks should be out of her league. That may be kind of the point of the movie.

I felt a compulsion to watch this movie as it struck a note with me, and not just to share some toast with Julia. As a middle aged guy who seems perpetually doing ... new jobs, I was drawn to a story where a guy working the same job for most of his adult life is laid off. Yep, that connects directly to my experience this summer past. Well, not the "in the same job for a long time" but the laid off part. But, if I want to be completely honest, that was the longest tenure I've had in one job, in my entire adult life. So, yes, that concept of "what now" is always in my brain. How will I handle this 5 years from now or ten? How does a guy almost 60 start over? That is what this movie is about, at least from one of its plot points.

You see, really, its more generally about how this job loss forces him into re-starting his life. He is a guy who has been doing the same thing for ages -- same job, same schlub life, no GF, no close friends. By losing his job at the local big box store, he goes back to college, meets a wide array of interesting people filled with life and he finds love in the last expected place -- from his teacher. Roberts, as the teacher, is going through her own change of life, in that she is finally realizing she can leave the dillweed of a husband and find charm & romance with someone else. The movie is charming, funny where it needs to be, touching as it should be and all around, a likeable easily smiled at movie directed by Tom Hanks. It's not Sleepless... but its a good little Netflix romp.