Tom Hanks – Two words that will make me see a film, providing it’s not a heavy one about the war or being on death row. (still haven’t been able to bring myself to watch those two).
Julia Roberts – Another two words, except if they are preceded by the ridiculous phrase film marketeers use, romcom.
I last saw these two power houses together in the excellent, Charlie Wilson’s War, which I’m not sure came to the UK? Their magic works equally well here with Hanks in the title role, Crowne, who has just lost his job after going through a divorce and the expense of buying out his ex-wife to remain in the family home. He’s persuaded by his neighbour, brilliant casting for Cedric the Entertainer (“Get some knowledge and you’ll be fireproof”), to go back to college, having never been but instead started his career as a cook in the navy.
There he excels in the public speaking class taught by the bored teacher, Professor Mercedes Tainot (Roberts) who’s equally tired of her shirking, porn surfing husband and he attracts an unlikely but charming fan in a regular, fellow scooter riding college student who enlists him in the gang lead by her boyfriend. By gang I mean a group of nice people who bring out the coolness in him and who all happen to ride scooters, which sums up this king of feel good films. In the same way as one of my recent favourites, Away We Go (2009), two main characters have a terrific supporting cast in this case the errant husband, the kindly game show winning neighbours, the kooky young, class mates, the cute gang and the other genius professor.
On top of which the Tom Petty and ELO dominated soundtrack, like they just knew that would give it the extra sparkle for me. There is simply nothing wrong with this film, except it could have been longer.
Smile factor 10/10
PS I hear after I see this film had bad reviews which I find puzzling not only because it’s so fantastic but because it has Tom Hanks in it; who bothers to read reviews for a Hanks film? Although you just read this one.