On TV: 'Clear History' -- 2.5 stars
If there is anything that we can learn from the new HBO movie “Clear History,” it is that these days, Larry David can only really play Larry David.
Though clearly not intentional, the funnyman turns the film into what feels like an extension of his series “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
David stars as Nathan Flomm, who is a marketing guru working for an up-and-coming electric car company. Visually, David — sans glasses and with a huge beard and long, flowing head of hair — disappears into the role. The company is headed by visionary (and pompous) Will Haney (Jon Hamm). The car they’ve been working on is nearing market, and it needs a name. Will chooses to name it after his son: Howard.
In a rant that would be at home on any episode of “Curb,” Flomm gets incensed about the name, saying it will kill the car. He’s so confident in his opinion, that he sells back his share of the company. He goes back the next day to apologize, but Will won’t accept it and kicks him out. Needless to say, he was wrong, the Howard is a sensation and everyone involved gets rich, rich, rich! Except Flomm, now a media goat.
Fast forward a few years, and the familiar visage of David — now bald, clean shaven and wearing glasses — is living in Martha’s Vineyard under the name Rolly DaVore, a regular guy doing regular guy stuff with the locals.
All is well, until Will coincidentally decides to move to the same town. While he has no idea that Rolly is Flomm, Rolly certainly knows who he is, and is out to stop him from moving there at all costs.
The film turns into a revenge comedy, with Rolly trying to bring pain to the man who wronged him. It has funny moments, but never comes together. Those who love “Curb,” as do I, will likely enjoy the film a little more as it evokes the show in tone (and soundtrack).
The film does have an impressive supporting cast, with A-list names like Kate Hudson, Bill Hader, Michael Keaton, Danny McBride, Eva Mendes, and “Curb” mainstay JB Smoove, but they’re not able to save the film from being a run-of-the-mill comedy about a grumpy guy being grumpy.
Just go watch “Curb” instead.
“Clear History” premieres on Saturday at 9 p.m. on HBO.