Larry Crowne: "Larry, You're A Great Student. I'm Not An Easy A"

Director:  Tom Hanks
Writer:     Nia Vardalos
Starring:  Tom Hanks
                Julia Roberts
                Cedric the Entertainer
                Gugu Mbatha-Raw
                Wilmer Valderrama
                Pam Grier
                Rami Malek
                Maria Canals Bererra
                George Takei
                Bryan Cranston
                Ian Gomez
Rating:    **
This story about a man looking for a fresh start in life is dull, stale and brings nothing new to the table.

Larry Crowne (Hanks) is a fairly harmless man, who is just trying to get by in life. He is recently divorced, he has spent most of his life in the Navy, and currently works for a top supermarket. Due to the recession and because of his lack of qualifications he loses his job and this sends him on a new journey. His quest for a college eduacation introduces him to a whole new way of living, and with this he meets new friends, and a new love interest. Hanks gives a pretty honest and innocent portrayal of the character, but it soon becomes dull and uninteresting. It is a far cry from his glory days as loveable Forrest Gump, and despite his best efforts you don't really feel anything for him as a character.

His love interest is Mercedes Tainot (Roberts), a college professor who has fallen out of love with her Husband, her job and her life. Enter Crowne to show that there is always a brightside to life. The journey she goes through has been done and i've seen it all before, and nothing is done to freshen it up and help it feel new again. She again is dull and lifeless and despite Robert's best efforts you feel nothing for her either. Robert's plays the role well, don't get me wrong, but it certainly isn't her best work.

Along the way we meet various supporting characters. The college Staff, Dr Matsutani and Frances (Takei & Grier), the 'gang' Talia and Dell (Mbatha-Raw & Valderrama), Larry's friends Lamar and Frank (Cedric & Gomez) and his classmates Steve and Lala (Malek & Barerra). We also see Mercedes husband Dean (Cranston), who is an annoyingly aggrevating character who doesn't help the film at all. All of these supporting roles have been cast well, and a stellar cast it is, but the characters feel recycled and a tad stereotypical. Sassy bestfriend, greedy neighbour, cheeky classmate and bohemian sidekick have all been done before and are all used in this film.

Hanks' directing is ok, but thats it. Unfortunately it feels old school, not in a clever way, but a dated way. All in all it is pretty boring; uninspired writing and tired acting make this film a bit of a flop. Robert's and Hank's try their best, but even their performances can't save this mess from failure. I wouldn't recommend it, not to rent, buy or borrow.