Larry Crowne starts with the protagonist, the movie’s name sake-Tom Hanks, working at a U-Mart store, after having left the Navy. He finds out that instead of being praised for his work, he has been downsized on account of the fact that he does not have a college degree. Subsequently, Larry finds himself struggling with a lot of things. Having lost his job, he now struggles with mortgage payments and a lot of free time on his hands. He sells the SUV he can no longer afford and buys a scooter from his neighbor, played by Cedric the Entertainer.
Realizing he needs to get a college degree, he goes back to his local community college, and takes up 2 courses. One of them is Economics, which he excels in; and the other is Speech, taught by Mercedes Tainot, played by Julia Robert. Mercedes is shown to be struggling with an unhappy marriage to Dean, who was a writer, now turned self-proclaimed blogger, played by Brian Cranston.
The story timidly moves ahead with Larry now adjusting to college life surrounded by people who would be better suited in a Disney movie. Larry undergoes a life transformation with the help of Talia, played by Gugu Mbatha Raw and accepts her invitation to join her Motor Scooter Club - which is a tamer version of the motorbike gang. He even takes up a job at the local diner.
While enjoying a night out with the scooter club, Larry passes Mercedes waiting at a bus stop after her night with Dean goes horribly. He offers her a ride home, which she eventually accepts. On the way they spot Dean being pulled over for drunk driving. A romantic relationship develops between Larry and Mercedes, whose mood starts to improve as the screenplay makes her move away from her monstrous husband Dean.
The screenplay is predictable from here on, with every box being checked. Mercedes divorces Dean - Check! Mercedes and Larry develop a relationship - Check! Larry gets better in speech class and masters both courses - Check! Larry moving on to next semester, and pursuing a relationship with now divorced Mercedes - Check!
Another negative for this movie, is the rapid decline of importance given to a crucial issue, which is the impact of unemployment on the middle age population. After confronting serious issues of economic crises in the beginning, the movie just abandons any seriousness and progresses to more sugary fluffy stuff.
Overall the movie is not bad. It’s just very tepid, completely lacking conflict and drama. The screenplay is happy go lucky all around and very bland. Larry Crowne is a good decent guy who will have a good decent life overall. Watching this 100 minute movie is like watching a cake being baked, which isn’t exciting. You just want it to be over soon.