While I was scrolling through the different titles available this weekend, I chanced upon "Larry Crowne". Looked it up on IMDb; not so good - an average of 5/10. Scroll down further and voilà! Written by Tom Hanks himself, gotta see it. And I'm glad I did.
First, let me get the 'acting' part out of the way - It's good. Not mind-blowing, but most certainly good enough to be worth the US$9 weekend price of a movie ticket here in Singapore. The actors were good enough that I felt connected, and that's as good as it ever has to be.
As for the plot - nothing jaw-droppingly complicated and twisted, but then again neither was Forest Gump. And what a big success that movie proved to be. Don't expect character development to blow you away, but it did, at the very least, impress me.
Of course, if you walk into the theater expecting "Harold & Kumar" or "Chuck & Larry" humor, you would most definitely be sorely disappointed. Some others have criticized the film, saying that it had "cheap laughs" at best. Now that isn't necessarily true, because it all depends on what your expectations are.
So hear this - Larry Crowne isn't an all-out-LOL-fest, it's a wholesome film sprinkled with subtle, clever, and thoughtful humor.
In my opinion, this film was an excellent cross-section representation of the sandwiched American Middle-class - too rich to qualify for welfare, too poor to save any money. Most people (outside the United States) wouldn't know the America shown throughout this film - where folks are priced out of their own states, where they attend community colleges that aren't crazy over keg parties and crawling with bikini-straddling blonds, where students have to juggle work and school, where they might have to choose the former over the latter too often.
Hollywood glamorizes the American lifestyle each and every chance it gets, and this film provides a rare glimpse into the real America where most people reside.
All things considered, I would consider this film a feel-good movie, and there's much more to it than meets the eye. If you enjoyed Forest Gump, you'd most likely enjoy this one - even if the feel-goodness sets in slightly more subtly.
One final thing - I've never written a review for any movie before, ever. But I felt that the reviews here (as of 9th July 11) were doing Larry Crowne such injustice that I had to write this to balance it out.