Right on the Money

By Todd A. Smith

            You simply cannot go wrong with a Tom Hanks film and Larry Crowne is no exception.  Whether it is a dramatic piece or a comedic piece, Hanks seems to always make his characters believable and likable.

            Larry Crowne will surely be another blockbuster hit for Hanks, who co-wrote and directed the film, because it is timely and right on the money.

            In 2011, one only has to stroll through any campus in the country, to see non-traditional students returning to school because a bad economy forced them out of what they thought was a stable career.

            Hanks plays the title character in the movie who is fired because without a college degree, the company he works for (U Mart) sees no chance of him climbing the corporate ladder any further.  To make matters worse he takes out a second loan on his house to buy out his ex-wife’s portion of their home but without a job he cannot pay the mortgage, which is now higher than the house is worth.

            Furthermore, as Larry Crowne begins to pinch pennies, he realizes that his gas guzzling Chevrolet Tahoe is probably not his best transportation option, and buys a cost-effective scooter from his yard sale guru neighbors Lamar (Cedric the Entertainer) and wife B’ella (Taraji P. Henson).

            After not being able to find another job, Larry decides to enter a local community college.

            Although many in the media have highlighted older college students returning to school because of the bad economy, very few have highlighted the dynamic that exists when you have professors in the same age group as students.  Larry Crowne does an excellent job of bringing to light the potential that romantic relationships may develop in settings where it may be off limit.

            The professor who becomes smitten with Larry, and vice versa, is Mercedes Tainot (Julia Roberts) who searches for any reason to avoid teaching, especially classes at 8:00 AM.  She stresses that she wants to make her students care, but it is obvious that she does not care much for her job or the way her marriage is going.

            Mercedes is married to an Internet porn-addicted husband, who constantly chastises his wife for not having big breasts.  When she finally has enough of his shenanigans, she is rescued from her despair by Larry.  However, things become awkward between the two when the relationship turns intimate.

            Thinking of her job security, she wants to keep their romantic incident a secret, and being a gentleman Larry obliges. 

            Like one would imagine, a film with Cedric the Entertainer, Hanks and Wilmer Valderrama (Dell Gordo) is hilarious and having Pam Grier in it as a college professor is great eye candy for the fellas. 

But, Larry Crowne is a very good movie because the characters and the predicament they find themselves in is something that happens every day.  And that is, sometimes loves occurs in the strangest places and at the wrong time, but when somebody changes your life for the better, that love is worth waiting for until the right time.

            The professor and her mature student change each other’s lives for the better and prove that you are never too old to start again or start over.







Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men’s Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.

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