By general consensus, Tom Hanks is the nicest man in Hollywood. “Nice” is something we seek in the real world; basic pleasantness helps lubricate every social interaction. That said, “nice” doesn’t mesh very well with “interesting,” and Hanks missteps most egregiously as an actor when he abandons any shred of darkness or complexity. His second directorial outing, the mild comedy Larry Crowne
, crystallizes the limitations of nice.
Hanks plays the title character, a divorced, middle-aged Navy veteran who must take college classes after being downsized from his job at a Walmart-esque store. He enrolls in a speech course taught by the sarcastic, burned-o...