By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
Larry David had already cemented his role as a comedy legend by the time his baby Seinfeld went off the air. Instead of resting on those laurels, though, or continuing to write material for other people, he got in front of the camera for the great Curb Your Enthusiasm. That show’s been off the air since 2011, however, although it hasn’t been officially canceled, and HBO definitely wants it back, which is always a good sign.
HBO don’t give no shit ’bout your “final season”. You’re done when HBO says you’re done.
So, what’s Mr. David been up to in the interim? Clear History.
Here Larry David plays “Not Larry David”, who actually is pretty much just Larry David, a man who throws away an electric car fortune in typical Larry David fortune- due to outspokenness, complete lack of tact, and a comical inability to compromise. Years later, the man (besides himself) who cost him that fortune (Jon Hamm) moves in next door on Martha’s Vineyard, where Not Larry David’s been living the blue collar lifestyle. Can he get his revenge without shooting himself in the foot once again?
David really only traffics in one kind of comedy, but it’s a delicious mix of social commentary, dark humor, slapstick, and pure cantankerousness that is truly all his own. This is very much a Larry David joint, and I love the film all the more for it. Honestly, Clear History is another Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. The set up, the payoff, the music, and even J.B. Smoove’s always welcome ridiculousness are all present.
If he wasn’t D.J. Smoove Move at some point in his career, he’s led a wasted life
This flick ups the ante, though, with slicker direction courtesy of Superbad‘s Greg Mottola and an ace cast also including Michael Keaton, Danny McBride, Bill Hader, Amy Ryan, Eva Mendes, Kate Hudson, and Philip Baker Hall, all of which certainly get their moments. Also, I have to applaud what may be the most deliciously dark twist of Larry David’s career, which flips the movie on its head and ups the comedy of errors ante spectacularly.
If you find Curb or Larry David insufferable, it goes without saying that this won’t be up your alley. Honestly, there’s not really anything here but a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode, and it wouldn’t rank in the top tier of those.
The big reason for that is that the film drags a bit in parts. It has the run time of 3+ episodes, but filled with only 1.5 episodes or so worth of material.
If you’re a Curb fan looking for your fix, here it is. If not, this is a great introduction to the comedic pleasures of Mr. Larry David.
Take a Drink: for every recognizable comedy face
Take a Drink: every time Larry David expresses an opinion strongly
Take a Drink: each time you hear “the Howard”
Do a Shot: when Larry learns a lesson