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Netflix Daily Pick: Breezy Romance in ‘Larry Crowne’ (2011)

Today's pick is a sentimental heart-warmer starring Tom Hanks.

Larry Crowne is a 2011 romantic comedy about a middle-aged man who, after losing his job, reinvents himself by going back to college.

Today’s Netflix Pick is a sweet-hearted romantic comedy with lots of earnest and plenty of charm. Starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, this whimsical romantic fantasy is loaded with smarmy sweetness, going straight for the gooey emotional center but doing so with a sincerity that makes it fun for a breezy night at the movies. It’s Larry Crowne and it’s what you’re watching tonight. Here’s why.

THE STORY: Directed by Hanks, it follows victim of corporate downsizing Larry Crowne (Hanks), who loses his job, one he excelled at for years. He needs to pick up the pieces and find a new direction, so he heads back to the local community college and in his public-speaking class, meets a collection of misfits and no-directioners as well. Their professor is also a bit of an oddball. Mercedes Tainot (Roberts) seems to have lost her passion for teaching and is half-hearted in her instruction, but that doesn’t stop eternally positive Larry from developing a big crush. It’s not long after when the students have turned Larry into a class mentor and friend, winning over the teacher as well, as romantic sparks fly.

Larry Crowne
Larry Crowne, 2011 © Universal Pictures

WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: There’s something about Hanks in the leading romantic man role that always seemed nonconventional, no matter how well it worked. He isn’t the typical broad-shouldered genre type, but his average Joe-ness won over many fans who watched him woo the likes of Meg Ryan in very popular films. Here, he’s at it again and while it’s not trying to copy those movies, is packed with enough heart to feel good while watching. Roberts is strong and independent and plays against the type she established so thoroughly in the 90s. It’s no classic and the sugary-taste gets a little too sweet sometimes, but there’s no denying the wholesomeness about it that makes it kind of addictive on its own. It’s streaming on Netflix right now.