The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 99 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Cedric The Entertainer, Taraji P. Henson, Bryan Cranston, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Wilmer Valerrama, Pam Grier, George Takei, Rami Malek
Directed by: Tom Hanks
Music by: James Newton Howard
Written by: Tom Hanks & Nia Vardalos
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 15, 2011
"The worst thing can sometimes turn out to be a new beginning"
When the happy-go-lucky Larry Crowne, (Tom Hanks) finds himself edged out in a company downsizing, he sets out on a heart-warming journey to find himself and soon finds the spark of romance too.
Prior to the downsizing at his place pf employment, affable, and happy Larry Crowne (Hanks) had complete control of his world. He was an eight time employee of the month at the big-box retailer where he worked since his time in the Navy. Underwater on his mortgage, with no clear solution in sight, Larry heads to his local college to take some classes in order to enhance his worth on the job market. There he becomes part of a colorful community that includes a group scooter riding enthusiasts that don't mind being different. In his public-speaking class, Larry develops an unexpected crush on his teacher Mercedes Tainot (Roberts), who has lost as much passion for teaching as she has for her husband. The simple guy who has every reason to think his life has stalled will come to learn an unexpected lesson: when you think everything worth having has passed you by, you just might discover your reason to live.
I like Tom Hanks and enjoy his films, even some of his earlier ones that aren't especially memorable. I didn't bother to see Larry Crowne during its theatrical run figuring it would make its way to home video sooner than later. Larry Crowne is a seemingly quiet and somewhat dorky everyman type but he has an approachable, forthright and gentlemanly way that supersedes his lack of social experience. Talia is a sprightly, grounded young college student who, after a chance meeting with Larry, befriends him. Through that friendship Larry comes to see an entirely different side of life which opens up his mind, his heart and his future. Penned by Hanks and good friend Nia Vardalos Larry Crowne is a light romantic comedy that eschews a serious side in favor of a sort of elder coming of age narrative about a lonely, likeable guy with an infectious charm that draws in those around him. This isn't a particularly realistic film, especially in light of today's job market/economic climate but it provides a delightful bit of escapism/optimism. Tom Hanks isn't much of a leading man these days (if he ever was) and the script is shaped so that the romance appropriately simmers but never boils. Instead it focuses on the interplay among the characters which is what I found to be the most enjoyable aspect of the film. In reality not much really happens which leaves the storyline feeling a little flavorless but I didn't mind. At 99 minutes the pacing is where it should be. The mix of acting talent, in addition to big screen heavyweights Hanks/Roberts, is a bit of a smorgasbord made up of faces old/new that lends to the film's amiable quality. I wouldn't describe Larry Crowne as a memorable romantic comedy but for 99 minutes it provides a charming bit of escapism that I found entertaining.
The rating is for brief strong language, and some sexual content.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Larry Crowne comes to Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.
This video presentation is consistent with most newer release films coming to Blu-ray and looks great. Colors are bright, with vivid primaries, and deep saturation which makes them visually pleasing. Contrast and brightness are nicely balanced which adds punch to colors and brightly lit scenes while keeping darker elements dynamic and gradational. Complexions are rich in tonal description with natural highlights that appear lifelike. Images are crisp with stable sharpness and appreciable definition that brings out plenty of subtle texture within the objects and people onscreen.
The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is more than capable of handling the elements present in this dialogue driven comedy and sound excellent overall. Vocal reproduction is smooth and strident free through the center channel. The front oriented surround mix is delivered via a wide soundstage, with opulent detail and appropriate prioritization. Atmospheric ambience is lightly mixed to the rear channels which provides subtle venue replicating surround envelopment and music enhancement.
- (HD) Deleted scenes - 8 minutes
- (HD) The making of Larry Crowne - 11 minute featurette
- (HD) Fun on the set - 10 minutes
- My scenes bookmark feature
- pocket BLU
- BD-Live enabled
Larry Crowne is a light romantic comedy that eschews a serious side in favor of a sort of elder coming of age narrative about a lonely, likeable guy who experiences a difficult setback but through it is shown an entirely different side of life which opens up his mind, his heart and his future. Viewers hoping for a steamy, raucous rom/com will more than likely be disappointed. I liked the development of the characters and their framing within the construct of the storyline. When all was said and done I found Larry Crowne to be a charming bit of escapism that was 90 + minutes well spent. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring pleasing high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound and a lackluster assortment of bonus material. When you're in the mood for a light romantic comedy with a heart give this one a rent.
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