Talia (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Larry (Tom Hanks) catch up at the diner in “Larry Crowne,” a romantic comedy about how the hard knocks from today’s recession inspire one everyday guy to undergo a personal reinvention and an unexpected second act in his life. Bruce Talamon photo via IMDb

Did I miss a name in the credits? No, I double checked.

I viewed it as a Sunday morning sitcom starring Tom Hanks.

Yes, Tom Hanks of “Philadelphia,” “Forrest Gump,” “Big,” “Sleepless in Seattle” and “ Cast Away.” That Tom Hanks, the “beloved star” Tom Hanks.

Here is our beloved Tom Hanks starring in a tanker of a film he directed and wrote with Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”), about a total numb loser named “Larry Crowne,” a part that a funnier Eddie Bracken did back in the 1940s in about five movies.

Crowne, who served in the U.S. Navy as a cook for 20 years, returned to work at what looks like a Dollar Store-come-Walmart in Los Angeles.

Larry, apparently is so devoted to this store that he stocks shelves, runs the cash register, takes out and retrieves shopping carts in the parking lot, and chats with his bosses — who, unknown to him, are about to dump him.


We are shown in multiple short paragraphs that Larry is divorced, and needs this job to pay his alimony.

There is no point in wasting 15 paragraphs in describing the details of how he got to this point, so I’ll give the basics.

Larry is soon fired from his job as basket retriever-assistant manager-at large, because he only has a high school diploma. Got that?

He skipped college because he wanted to serve his country and apparently fell in love with deep water, hammocks and the cute uniform.

I know the Navy. Besides the hi-tech modern sailors of rank, it’s full of Larry Crownes who just wanted to sleep in a clean bed at night and meet cute girls in Trinidad and Yokohama.

I think I just wrote what would make a funny movie of the week with Chris Rock and with just those ingredients, and be done with it.


So Larry, to hold on to this terrible job, enrolls in a neighborhood city college, where a bitter and unhappily married Julia Roberts teaches.

Julia Roberts?

This is the same Tom Hanks of “Cast Away,” remember?

So I assume that he wanted to take it easy for a while, invest his own money in this thing, and give his wife, Rita Wilson, a break.

Let me repeat in case you think I’m kidding. This is Tom Hanks of “Bridge of Spies” 2015, among myriad hits. and then when bored, wrote this while in the tub with a waterproof laptop.

This Tom added Gugu Mbatha-Raw, (“Black Mirror”), Wilmer Valderrama (“From Dusk to Dawn” 2014-16), and Bryan Cranston who had a few days off from his busy schedule.


Tom also engaged Cedric the Entertainer as his rich neighbor with a permanent lawn sale, Taraji P. Henson (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”), Pam Grier (“Just Wright” 2010) and Rami Malek, who survived this mess and later enhanced his resume with an Oscar for “Bohemian Rhapsody” in 2018.

It’s important to know that the eminent George Takei (Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the fictional starship USS Enterprise in the television series “Star Trek,” author and actor) improves and saves a boring teacher.

As Spock once said, “Highly illogical.”

“Larry Crowne” streams on Prime Video.

J.P. Devine of Waterville is a former stage and screen actor.