With its eager-to-please congeniality, it almost works, but with a pacing that is at once comfortably assured and frustratingly slack, like holding exactly to the speed limit on a stretch of open road, Larry Crowne never quite comes to life.
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This one coasts by on Hanks' immense appeal and charm, but more focus and a touch more sharpness are needed to make it really come alive.
Movie stars may be less valued than they used to be, but it's still puzzling to see Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts stuck in a romantic comedy as flat-footed and tone deaf as Larry Crowne.
Though both lead actors are able to coast for a while on their natural charm, it's evident by the soppy finale that their "Sleepless in Seattle" and "Pretty Woman" salad days are long past.
Every scene is on the prowl for laughs at the expense of the inherent drama in the lives of its colorful characters.
It's easy enough to accept the romantic-comedy luck of the two finding each another. It's much tougher, and ultimately useless, to buy everything else about this fairy tale of self-reinvention in a stalled economy.
At least Roberts has some star wattage to burn; her megawatt smile is the only thing that ultimately pierces, however faintly, the film's blinding schmaltz.
This charmer about late middle-aged renaissance is pertinent for these times and a perfect summer comedy for grown-ups looking to escape robots and superheroes.
The screenplay carries blandness to a point beyond tedium.
The pleasant surprises in Larry Crowne come from its side characters.