Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Clear History

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Clear History?  Is this movie about what every guy does before their girlfriends enters the room?

Clear History – 3 out of 5

Since it looks like we may not get anymore Curb Your Enthusiasm seasons, we get the next best thing. Clear History; a film that is basically a longer episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm

Long hair on Larry David looks prett-ay, prett-ay, prett-ay good.

After having a disagreement about the name their car company was going to go with for their revolutionary electric car, Nathan (Larry David) sells his stock in the company and walks away…only to find out that, after the car is unveiled, he would have made almost a billion dollars. A decade passes and Nathan has started his life over again in Martha’s Vineyard and changed his name to Rolly. Everything seems good. People like Rolly and Rolly is enjoying a simple existence…that is, until his former employer Will Haney (Jon Hamm) arrives in the area. Now Rolly must stop his friends from finding out about his past and, furthermore, decides to get a dose of revenge on Haney…

Clear History is definitely funny…it’s just a little too familiar. There’s no point in pulling hairs here because the film is basically just an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm without actors playing themselves. All the gags you know from the great comedy series is here like how Larry David’s character nitpicks little things around him that go on to vex the person he’s venting to and then culminates in an argument between the two people and later pays off with Larry’s character having to disrespected them later on in the story in order to see his own means completed. This familiarity is a tad annoying and I can see why some viewers may be put off by it as it may come off as lazy but it really didn’t bother me that much because I enjoy the Curb formula and I enjoyed its use here.

Or maybe...this was the ninth season of Curb all along!

Larry David is still hilarious as he brings his neurotic ways to the character of Nathan/Rolly (let’s just say it: Nathan/Rolly is Larry David) and there’s a great cast of very funny people backing him up. Michael Keaton, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Jon Hamm…each of these performers are great in their roles and helped make the film entertaining but some of them left me wanting more.

Liev Schreiber is also in this one.  He's a great dramatic actor but can also do comedy.
Like when he was in that satire of an X-men movie; X-men Origins:  Wolverine.
That one was a comedy, right?

Jon Hamm proves there is nothing he can’t do as he is attention-grabbingly incredible as Don Draper in Mad Men but he has proved on other projects like The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret during its second season, a plethora of online shorts, and 30 Rock that he can do comedy just as well as he can do awesome drama with a side of misogyny, cigarette smoking and boozin’. However, it felt like he didn’t really have much of a presence in the story and the film focused more on the relationship between this character’s wife (played by Kate Hudson) and Nathan/Rolly. More Hamm was needed!

We need this man as our next Batman, by the way!

 One character I really enjoyed was Michael Keaton’s character of Joe Stumpo. Stumpo helps Nathan with his revenge scheme along with his partner-in-crime Rags (Bill Hader). Aside from being my favorite Batman, Keaton is also really good at being funny and he was great in Clear History as an odd, eccentric character with a foul-mouth vulgarity cookie center.

"Wait...did you just say that Hamm needs to be Batman and
I'm your favorite Batman?  Pick a side, bro!"

Hader has his moments with Keaton but not nearly enough of them. Hader is an extremely funny man and it felt like he wasn’t utilized to his potential in this film. If the dinner plate that is this movie needed more Hamm, it also needed another helping of some Hader gravy with it and maybe some more mashed Keatons (oh, this metaphor is going to get stranger, don't you worry…).

Hader gravy can either sound disgusting or a legit brand of canned gravy at your
local grocer...but this is the internet so we already know which direction people are leaning.

My biggest complaint of this movie, however, was the fact that Danny McBride plays Frank; Nathan/Rolly’s friend and confidante—the only man he lets know about his past shame. My complaint isn't that McBride was in the film but how he was used.  I’m a big fan of McBride and I think he’s hilarious—who doesn’t love Kenny “Fucking” Powers—and the movie just robbed me of McBride as he was grossly underutilized. McBride acts more as a background character and is almost never allowed to really shine or be funny and that just seemed like a crime to me. So, there wasn’t enough Hamm on the plate, we could have used some more mashed Keatons with a heaping dose of Hader gravy on it but, even though the Larry David entree was nutritious and filling, we needed a refreshing, vulgar McBride Brew to wash this comedy down (I told you this metaphor would get weirder).

Danny, if you decide you want to start brewing your own beer, I'll let you take the name
McBride Brew.  Here's another freebie; East Brew and Down.

Don’t get me wrong, Clear History isn’t a terrible film. It’s actually really funny. However, it doesn’t utilize a lot of the players it has the privilege of having in its cast and the gags do little to go beyond what we know from Curb. The movie is still very amusing and incredibly entertaining but it just could have been a little more so—or even a lot more so.

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