* * *
(Pleasant little romance)
Tom Hanks is one fine actor, especially when he grabs a hold of the "everyman" role and makes it his own.
Hanks is the title character, a Navy veteran with no college experience who is happy in his job at UMART, where he consistently wins the Employee of the Month Award.
Larry is bluntly downsized, divorced and foreclosed on, and he does everything to maintain his dignity, find a job, and start a new life. He enrolls in the local community college and signs up for a class in communication, taught by Mercedes Painot (Julia Roberts).
Mercedes has her personal problems, stuck in a loveless marriage with a blogger who spends his day looking at big-busted women on the Internet. She drinks too much, never smiles and treats her class with disdain.
There are wonderful supporting characters, including Larry's neighbor (Cedric the Entertainer), who runs a perpetual yard sale and sells Larry a motorbike, which turns out to be one important element in changing his life.
Larry befriends a young student (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who becomes the biggest change element. There are some fun scenes as Larry joins her motorbike "gang,” while her boyfriend watches the two of them carefully, although their relationship is completely of the father/daughter type.
It is interesting how Larry and Mercy effect each other in different ways. He sees the glass half full, while she sees it half empty.
Nothing big happens. No car crashes, no sex, no murders, just some interesting character studies and classroom scenes are nice to watch.
Do teacher and pupil find each other in the end? What do you think?
Rated PG, with some minor profanity. Young folks won't get the subtleties.