It's always great to have Larry David in any kind of film or television show. He's made a name for himself not only as the writer and executive producer of the 'Seinfeld' series, but also on HBO's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' where he plays a version of himself that has now lasted eight seasons. Needless to say, he's one of the best comedians in the business, one who can make a joke out of everyday circumstances. And nothing is different with HBO's original film 'Clear History' which stars Larry David and a treasure trove of other A-List stars.
In fact, 'Clear History' plays out exactly like a longer episode of 'Curb Your Enthusiasm,' but on a bigger scale. There are enough awkward situations and hilarious moments for two films, along with Larry pushing his bizarre gripes at everyday life. So if you enjoy 'Curb Your Enthusiasm', you'll definitely love this original film.
The movie spans thirteen years. When we initially meet Nathan Flomm (Larry David), he is sporting hair past his shoulders and a beard that would make Gandalf the Gray happy. Nathan is a very successful marketing executive for a car company run by Will Haney (Jon Hamm), who has been friends with Flomm since the beginning and is about to unveil a new eco-friendly smart car called 'The Howard.' In typical Larry David fashion, he finds the idea completely stupid and thinks his own idea, which is to put a urinal in the car is better than calling the car 'The Howard.' Will and Nathan get into a heated argument over the name of the car, which leads Nathan to quit his job and sell all of his shares in the company.
The car is eventually released and is the best thing since sliced bread, making tons of money for the company. Unfortunately for Flomm and his psychotic ideas, he missed out on the opportunity to make billions. As we see in several news segments, pretty much everyone in America has bought 'The Howard' vehicle, and it wouldn't be a fun news segment if Nathan wasn't mentioned leaving the company over the name, making him a national joke.
Cut to ten years later on Martha's Vineyard where Nathan has relocated himself, changed his name to Rolly DaVore, and now looks like the Larry David we've all have come to love. He now spends his time taking care of an old widowed lady and living a nice, quiet life in the country, where he has made new friends Frank (Danny McBride) and Jaspar (J.B. Smoove), who have no idea about his previous life.
However, in the quaint community of Martha's Vineyard, a new family is moving in and building a giant monster of a mansion, one which none of the residents of the community are happy about. Turns out, that new family is Flomm's old boss, Will, who is moving into Nathan's new realm with his wife Rhonda (Kate Hudson). And Nathan wants only one thing. Revenge. He enlists the help of a local contractor Rags (Bill Hader), as well as Joe, played by an almost unrecognizable Michael Keaton, who at times emits his Beetlejuice character. With Rolly and Joe planning something big to drive Will out of town, they need the help of a criminal named Tibor (Liev Schreiber), who has a hilarious accent.
You can imagine all of the awkward and cringe-worthy moments to come out of this plot. It's all quite hilarious. At times even the theme music is similar to 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.' The only thing that might aggravate people is how alike this film is to 'Curb.' But saying that, whatever we can get with Larry David and 'Curb' is good, right? This is a solid and very funny original movie that will have you laughing from start to finish.
'Clear History' comes with a great 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The detail is sharp with well defined closeups that show the actor's fake facial hair very well, wrinkles, and makeup. The exterior shots of the beautiful Martha's Vineyard are pristine and gorgeous. In some of the lower lit scenes, the detail goes a tiny bit soft, but nothing that would hinder your viewing experience.
The color all looks well saturated, with some impressive greens, blues, and browns. Nothing seems pale or vague here. The black levels are always deep and inky with the skin tones looking natural and smooth. There was no evidence of any compression issues, banding, aliasing, or motion blur, giving this video presentation a high mark.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix that sounds great for a comedy dialogue driven film. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand. There isn't a whole lot going on here though, as there aren't too many action beats, so the sound tends to stay on the center and fronts.
There is a little bit of ambient noise of people chattering, and construction employees working, but other than that, there isn't too much to note, with the exception of some Chicago music, which is a running gag in the film, and even one of the climactic scenes in the film, where there could of been a possibility for some epic sound, never really comes through. For a comedy that relies on spoken word, it does the job.
There are no extras whatsoever.
I'm shocked the HBO would release a Blu-ray with no extras. This is blasphemy, as HBO is known for their comprehensive extras, which are always amazing. There isn't even a trailer or an 'Extra' option on this disc. And that's sad, because, I'm willing to bet there were some hilarious outtakes and behind the scenes extras that were filmed. The movie itself is great with some solid video and some good enough audio. As much as I love the film, I can't recommend it to purchase, but a rental would be more than enough to enjoy this.