Larry Crowne

Rated 1.0

Julia Roberts, Tom Hanks and God help us all. Co-writing with My Big Fat Greek Wedding’s Nia Vardalos, Hanks also directs this severely ingratiating romantic comedy about a downsized baby boomer who falls for his community-college professor. For all its easy uplift, this is the most depressing kind of pandering: so benign it’s malignant. The stars’ trusty tag-team sweetheartism does its trick for half a moment, but there’s just too much junky clutter around that charming bull’s-eye. And noise, too, from a small battalion of secondary caricatures played by Bryan Cranston, Cedric the Entertainer, George Takei, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Wilmer Valderrama. Also annoying is that the other kids in class with Hanks have good comedic instincts, like he did when he was their age, but this clobbering material seems only to punish them for it. And us.