Review | Larry Crowne

Credit: Bruce Talamon

Opens: Friday 7/1

Us Rating: **

Julia Roberts is nobody's sweetheart in this uneven rom-com. She plays a cranky, hard-drinking community college teacher whose new class includes Larry, a jolly, recently laid-off discount-store staffer (Tom Hanks). The actor, who also directed, has crafted a movie around his charms.

Like Toy Story's Woody, Larry is a leader with a can-do attitude. But Roberts, displaying her darker side, gets lower marks. Her hostile fights with her porn-addicted husband (Bryan Cranston) have an ugly edge. She's such an awful mess that when Larry arrives on a goofy scooter to rescue her, the audience doesn't buy that they would ever be together. This romance tries to juggle serious and silly, yet never finds the right balance between the two.