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“Clear History” – Review (SO-SO POSITIVE)

August 14, 2013

Screen shot 2013-08-14 at 6.40.11 PMLarry David’s last feature film as a writer (and director) was the 1998 underrated comedy, “Sour Grapes”. He returns with his fellow “Seinfeld” & “Curb Your Enthusiasm” scribers, Alec Berg, David Mandel, and Jeff Schaffer, with director Greg Mottola (“Superbad”) at the helm. The film features an all-star cast of funny people, behind star Larry David, which include; Jon Hamm, Bill Hader, Michael Keaton, Kate Hudson, Danny McBride, Liev Schreiber, and J.B. Smoove.

A disgraced former marketing executive named Nathan (David) is cast away from an electric car company over the disagreement of the cars name, which was the ‘Howard’. His boss (Hamm), sells him back the 10% investment Nathan made, which would’ve made Nathan a billionaire. Nathan moves out to Martha’s Vineyard, a decade has past and Nathan goes by the name Rolly. Rolly notices his old boss moves into town and plots revenge against his former boss who made millions from the electric car company he once owned 10% of. The plan? Blowing up his old bosses house.

From a a plot like that, only Larry David would be crazy enough to compose it. It’s kind of like “Sour Grapes” in a way. “Sour Grapes” was about to cousins who fought over who Atlantic City winnings based on a quarter that was used on the slot mission that gave the winnings; ‘It was my quarter’, ‘But it was my machine’, that sort of thing. “Clear History” is an amusing farce for the most part, the subplot about the famous rock band Chicago will leave you chuckling. But the movie as a whole…it’s ok, from my perspective it felt like an hour and a half long episode of “Curb”

The movie has something going for it and something against it, and they’re both for the same reason, it’s like David’s popular HBO series “Curb You Enthusiasm”. Even in an interview, Greg Mottola stated that there was NO DIALOGUE in the script, just scene descriptions, everything else in the film was completely improvised. That is the exact same formula for “Curb”. I’m a fan of the show, I guess what I was hoping for here was more of Mottola’s style of comedy rather than David’s, or at least marry the two styles together cohesively.

The supporting cast is fun, the most notable go to Michael Keaton as the local bomb expert and Liev Schreiber as the detonator dealer, who has a personal vendetta against Larry David’s Rolly. Everyone else in the film, felt pretty much like a character you would see on “Curb”. I guess it’s all about how you look at it. Die hard fans of the show will love the movie, I myself am a fan, but I was expecting something else.

GRADE: B-

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