Love Lessons Learned From 'Larry Crowne'

Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts in Larry Crowne

Every summer needs a feel-good rom-com—so why should this summer be any different? Enter Larry Crowne, the new flick starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. Sure, you wouldn't think the film fits the bill to read its log line: down-and-out, middle-aged guy loses his minimum wage job and is forced to rediscover his sense of identity. But this quirky comedy has more than a few surprises in store—here's what we got out of it:

Every man needs a muse. In Crowne, Tom Hanks' character undergoes a transformation from dejected former superstore employee to dapper, Vespa-riding casanova. The catalyst for liberating this middle-aged chrysalis? The irrepressibly plucky free spirit he encounters his first day on campus, Talia (played by adorable Brit Gugu Mbatha-Raw.) Within minutes of meeting Crowne, the would-be stylist overhauls his look and recruits him into a stealth scooter gang that liberates his mojo—and kick-starts his life. (Hey, where do we get one of those?)

Love can be found in the darndest places. For Crowne, that place turns out to be a public speaking class at East Valley Community College, taught by the venerable Mercedes ("Mercy") Tainot (played by Roberts, natch). Both are rebounding from less-than-stellar relationships: Larry from a sour divorce, Mercy from her recent split from a porn-addicted overgrown frat boy. And what better place to re-open the book of love than in the classroom?

Leap and the net will appear. Life ain't always a box of chocolates—in the movies and in real life. As Larry shows us, sometimes you've gotta take risks, where it be saying sayonara to your mortgage, going back to school in your 50s, or laying a big fat kiss on your public speaking teacher. As for whether the risks pay off, well, let's just say this movie has a happy ending. So take a leap of faith and go check it out!