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Trailer: ‘Larry Crowne’

Scariest Film of the Year?

Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks in

Credit: Summit International

Above: Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks in "Larry Crowne."

Here is the trailer for "Larry Crowne" (opening July 1 throughout San Diego). I have to confess that it scared me so badly that I couldn't bring myself to see the film. So here's my review of the trailer.

I'm sure this will only get me into trouble but I had such an adverse reaction to the trailer for "Larry Crowne" that I couldn't bring myself to go see the press screening. So let me be clear: I am NOT reviewing the film. I am reviewing the trailer. And since a trailer by its very definition is supposed to make you WANT to see a film, I thought it would be fun to discuss how this one turned me off to the film. Plus by highlighting the trailer, people will at least know that the film is opening.

I don't plan to make a habit of reviewing trailers (although trailers can be a mini-art form all their own) but the "Larry Crowne" trailer elicited such a "Ew!" response from myself and the rest of the theater that I felt this one was a good exception to make. So to start, here's the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uS155D2HlwY

I should mention that when I saw the trailer it played by accident at the AMC Bloody Disgusting Selects screening because the theater had accidentally cued up "Kung Fu Panda 2" (with its more family friendly trailers) instead of the horror film "YellowBrickRoad." So admittedly this was the wrong crowd for a romantic comedy trailer. But when that first shot of Tom Hanks came up, it elicited an audible gasp from the audience because Hanks looked like the CGI-smoothed over character he played in the animated "Polar Express." It looked like he just got a facelift or a CGI youthening. Then the trailer continued and we got to see that Hanks' character fell somewhere between the bumpkin from "Forrest Gump" and the displaced immigrant trapped in "The Terminal." Then there were physical antics from "Big" and the teacher-student dynamic from "Stanley and Iris." Throw all those elements together and you get the wildly unoriginal foundation for "Larry Crowne."

I try not to pre-judge a film (I know you won't believe me but I do try) and I am generally game to go see anything but this trailer almost instantly turned me off to the film. Just like some people don't have the stomach for extreme horror, I get queasy around Hollywood romantic comedies. And the trailer for "Larry Crowne," with Tom and Julia acting like goofy teenagers in love was almost enough to send me screaming and running for the door.

In addition to starring in the film, Hanks wrote and directed the film. So that means he created a role for himself in which he must engage in physical antics more appropriate to a teenager or Mr. Bean (but Mr. Bean can get away with the goofiness). Then he also directs himself in a scene in which he must undress and wiggle his underwear-clad butt at the audience. I'm not sure from the trailer if that was meant to be sexy or funny or a combination of the two but it was just awkward and uncomfortable. It made me wonder if this is the way Hanks sees himself? Is this the kind of role that will showcase his talents? That's scary too.

I admit I am not a big fan of either Tom Hanks or Julia Roberts. But in the right roles and the right films, they can be effective -- like in "Charlie Wilson's War" in which they also co-starred. But in "Larry Crowne" they seem like Hollywood stars that are not willing to admit that maybe they are past the age of playing roles like these. But if they insist on taking such silly romantic comedy roles then at least they should look for something smarter.

If romantic comedies are your thing or you adore Tom and Julia, then "Larry Crowne" may be exactly what you're looking for this summer. But for someone who's already a little gun-shy about Hollywood rom-coms, I think I will stop at the trailer. My suggestion for a good Hollywood rom-com would be "Bridesmaids" or a good indie rom-com is "Submarine."

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