Hanks romance may please but won’t excite - Larry Crowne (M)

WELL, we always knew that Tom Hanks was a nice guy. So it’s not surprising that his second outing as director after That Thing You Do (1996) brings that all-American spirit to the fore.

He stars as Larry Crowne, a store manager at UMart who gets the chop. Not because he isn’t good but because his qualifications can’t lead to promotion. 

Crowne doesn’t have a degree. He’s spent 20 years in the navy as a cook. He’s such a decent guy, you’ve got to feel sorry for him – he was expecting to receive his 10th Employee of the Month award. But there’s that corporate monster again.

His home, which now is worth less than the debt owed on it, neighbours a front-lawn market with Lamar (Cedric the Entertainer), from whom Larry buys a scooter when he considers the gas-guzzling car he can no longer afford. Lamar has one more thing that gives Larry an idea, and that idea is further education.