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Crowne of Thorns 

Tom Hanks gets schooled in lame romantic comedy

What could go wrong when two of the most recognizable stars in Hollywood team up for a romantic comedy? A lot, it turns out. Larry Crowne takes place in an alternate universe where motor scooters and Wilmer Valderrama are considered cool.

Tom Hanks (who also directs) plays the title Navy vet who, after losing his retail job, signs up for community college. Before long he befriends a gang of ultra-hip scooter enthusiasts (seriously) and falls in love with his speech professor (Julia Roberts). Of course, Larry's class is filled with directionless, but devastatingly attractive, young people whose lives are changed by their bitter, albeit talented, instructor. When he’s not prowling the streets on his scooter or wooing his married teacher, Larry studies economics, cooks french toast at his favorite diner, and chews the fat with his neighbor.

But suspend all disbelief. Hanks plays Larry like the kind of charming dope that went out of fashion with Dick Van Dyke. Don't expect your life to be changed.--Lydia Munnell

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