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What Happened to Tom Hanks?

If only this were Lent, I could give up my television-viewing habits.

Sure, I’d go into serious baseball withdrawal, but at least I’d be spared the indignity of the seemingly never-ending stream of “Larry Crowne” commercials.

That’s the new weekend release starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts — Hanks is a laid-off megastore manager who kinda/sorta romances his community college prof, played by Roberts.

And, for reasons I don’t fully fathom, I already hate this flick:

1) Maybe it’s a built-in male defense mechanism against any Julia Roberts “rom-com”.

2) Maybe it’s because the ads feature not a single witty line or eye-catching scene — just Roberts cackling and Hanks smirking.

3) Maybe it’s because the film fires a shot across the bow at heartless capitalism — Hanks’ character losing his job because he never went to college and instead spent 20 years as a Navy cook. Hollywood just loves it when a nice guy’s “punished” for serving his country . . .

4) Maybe it’s because Tom Hanks simply can do better. Opinions vary on his best star-turn (I’d go with “Forrest Gump” and “Saving Private Ryan”) but one has to admit that it’s an impressive body of work.

BTW, is it my imagination, or has Hanks’ recent work behind the camera (producing such terrific mini-series as “John Adams”, “The Pacific” and “Band of Brothers”) been stellar while his work in front it has been less than inspiring?