Keep a lid on it, Spaniards tell Hanks and Roberts


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The Independent Online

The Spanish distributor of Larry Crowne, a romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, faces a €30,000 (£25,700) fine from the country's traffic department because its promotional poster shows the actors riding a scooter while not wearing helmets.

Hanks and Roberts's failure to don protective headgear was criticised by the traffic unit for "promoting reckless driving" – which has been banned in Spanish advertising since 1985.

"When the fine showed up in the post we thought it was a joke," an un-named source at the distributor, Tripictures, was quoted as telling the Cinemania website.

"We didn't even expect something like this when we distributed the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

The source pointed out that in the film itself, all the scooter riders unfailingly wear protective headgear every time they fling a leg over a saddle. However, the Larry Crowne posters are far more daring, showing a helmetless Hanks driving and Roberts riding pillion, with her auburn hair streaming behind her.

The distributor cannot even console itself with the knowledge that the movie has been a critical hit – the New York Times described it as a "romcom fairy tale so tepid and well behaved that it feels like being stuck in traffic as giddy joy-riders in the opposite lane break the speed limit".

While classic films featuring helmetless riders, such as Easy Rider, escaped fines in Spain, Hanks and Roberts are not the first artists to fall foul of the law.

Last year, the Colombian singer, Shakira, was fined €400 for failing to wear a helmet as she rode pillion on a Harley-Davidson in Barcelona while making a video for her song, "Loca".