By Brent Glass (@BrentAMG)
On screen, Larry David’s luck sucks, this is clear. If you have seen HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm you are privy to this idea. In “Curb,” as many fans call it (myself being one of them), Larry David plays himself. He is a grade-A jerk whom most people can identify with in some way. At the very least, people admire some of the qualities he possesses, such as his unabashed honesty. From what I understand, David is not characterizing himself that much. He really is kind of an off-putting person. But does he really have bad luck? I mean, there is no way a successful writer/ actor has that much bad luck. That is what I thought, at least, until I saw Clear History where David, again, plays a person much like himself who has a knack to get stuck in unfortunate events.
Clear History is a story of a disgraced former marketing guru, Nathan, (David) who plots to get revenge on his boss, Will (Jon Hamm). Nathan owns a 10 percent share in an electric car company. When Will reveals the name of the car to be “Howard,” Nathan protests that he cannot market that name. Being the bull-headed individual that he (and apparently real Larry David) is, he offers Will an ultimatum of changing the name of the vehicle or selling back his ten percent stake. Will buys back the shares. Soon after, Nathan’s wife (soon to be ex-wife) tells him to go get his shares back. Unfortunately for Nathan, Will refuses. In the not-so-distant future, the “Howard” takes off and Nathan’s ten percent stake became worth $1 billion. The media catches word of the partner who dipped right before the break-through and look to interview him. In typical “Davidian” fashion, Nathan humiliates himself on national television. The disgrace ruins his marriage (David can’t keep a wife) and forces him to change his name and go into solitude.
Nathan finds peace on an island from Southern California. That is, until Will and his wife (Kate Hudson) begin building a massive house in his neighborhood. Will does not recognize Nathan because he is no longer bearded (like above) but looks like classic Larry David. Also, his name is now Rolly. Rolly recalls his former hate for Will and decides to get back at him… by blowing up his house. It is the journey to this event, where we meet familiar faces.
Rolly does not know the first thing about blowing up a house so his best friend Frank (Danny McBride) introduces him to some regular crack-pots, Rags and Joe Stumpo (Bill Hader and Michael Keaton), who go into cahoots together. For a moment, Rolly believes that Will’s wife, Rhonda, has a hidden desire for him. He switches his plan to stealing Will’s wife. When this does not pan out, the initial plan is reenacted until Rolly finds out that Will has been looking for him for the past ten years. Why else does Will want to find Rolly, aka Nathan, but to repay him for the wrong he did him ten years ago? Oh, and that house he was planning to blow up? For terminally sick kids. Finding out Will’s true intentions, Nathan rushes back to the mansion, but it is too late. A bus load of children watch the house explode. Three years later, Nathan, Rags, and Stumpo are released from prison. Nathan decides to go by Rolly indefinitely and becomes a sort-of hero on the island. No one really liked the monstrosity of a house Will had built.
Overall, Clear History is worth a watch. However, if they released it on DVD/ Blu-Ray, I would not buy it for my collection. While I enjoy Larry David being Larry David, it can get soporific. If you have seen any of Curb Your Enthusiam, you know David’s character in this film. Danny McBride’s and Bill Hader’s characters, while amusing, were typical performances of the actors. Jon Hamm’s performance was unorthodox for him and, consequently, enjoyable. Furthermore, Michael Keaton managed to be entertaining through an offbeat role, as he pulled off in The Other Guys. 6.5/10
Brent Glass is a Michigander who graduated from Eureka College in May of 2013. He spent time at the Sagamore Institute in Indianapolis, IN (a non-partisan think tank) where he worked on political economy pieces for Detroit, MI and Elkhart, IN. Additionally, he spent the summer of 2012 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA, working on social media management. Currently he is beginning a marketing project designed to expand the reach of Sagamore Institute and Eureka College, creating a social media management business (Connect You Consulting) and working full-time as a Management Assistant to the owner of a car dealership. He plans to further his education in the fall of 2014 in either public policy, political science or business.