Julia Roberts has been at the top ranks of Hollywood royalty for so long that it's unusual to see her sharing a movie with another star of similar status. (Because, really, how many are there?) Next week's 'Larry Crowne' is one such rare summit meeting, reuniting her with Tom Hanks (who also directed). Hanks plays a man who goes back to college when he finds himself jobless in mid-career; Roberts is a teacher who's similarly in need of a fresh start.
Usually, of course, Roberts gets to carry a movie on her own. And that's usually enough. After 20 years, audiences know what to expect from her: a spunky, driven heroine, maybe with a Southern accent indicating further feistiness, maybe a bit goofy or gawky with a cackling laugh, -- but a woman not to be underestimated just because of her casual manner or striking good looks.
Some of Roberts' best performances have fit this type; so have some of her worst. Often, she does well when challenged to step out of her comfort zone by a top director (like Steven Soderbergh or Mike Nichols) or a co-star (like Richard Gere, or Hanks, who last starred opposite Roberts in Nichols' 'Charlie Wilson's War' four years ago).
'Larry Crowne' has prompted us to look back at the remarkable careers of both Hanks (here) and Roberts, ranking their roles from best to worst. See if you agree with our rankings, and let us know where you think 'Larry Crowne' belongs on the list.