The Film That Got Away: Clear History

By Christian DiMartino

Title: Clear History

Genre: Comedy

Release Date: August 10, 2013

Rating: NR

Leads: Larry David, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton

Writers: Larry David, Alec Berg, David Mandel, Jeff Schaffer

Director: Greg Mottola

Larry David is a genius. Why? Well, for one thing, he is the co-creator of Seinfeld, the greatest show of all time. Also, he is the creator of Curb Your Enthusiasm, the best show currently on tv. He skipped out on writing another season this year  in exchange for a great movie called Clear History.

In my personal movie rule book (it does not actually exist by the way), in order for a comedy to earn a high rating, it must truly be hilarious. Not only that, it needs to be entertaining and have a great storyline. Clear History is the first comedy in years that can be considered perfect, and it is a true pity it did not go to theatres (it is currently available on HBO).

The film revolves around a guy named Nathan (David), who works at a car company. When his business partner Will (Jon Hamm) comes up with an idea for a car named “The Howard”, Nathan can not stand it and quits, which turns out to be a huge mistake. “The Howard” becomes a billion dollar franchise, causing plenty of embarassment for Nathan, who is considered America’s biggest idiot.

Ten years go by, and Nathan, now completely unrecognizable, and going by a different name, is now living a quiet life in Martha’s Vineyard. His quiet life is soon turned upside down when Will shows up and buys a mansion. But here is the thing: Will does not recognize Nathan. So soon after Will’s arrival, Nathan hatches an idea: blow up his house.

David has done something interesting with this movie. Nathan, in all honesty, is not a good person. The fate of his character occurs mainly because he did it to himself. But like the characters on Seinfeld and like his character on Curb Your Enthusiasm, the viewer roots for Nathan. The viewer might not agree with what he is doing, but yet it simply has to happen. Clear History is a daring comedy without a soul, and sometimes that is not such a bad thing.

The film has a wide variety of colorful scene-stealing performances. Michael Keaton is fantastic as a maniac who helps Nathan with his plan. Liev Schrieber is hilarious as a detonator salesman, and J.B. Smoove is perfect as a townfolk who has an idea of what is going on. Kate Hudson, Eva Mendes, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, Amy Ryan, and even the band Chicago all have their moments.

As an enormous Larry David fan, the film does not dissapoint. This is one of the single-most entertaining films of 2013. Forget the years other great comedies (This is the End, The Heat, The World’s End). Director Greg Mottola (Superbad, Adventureland) handles these actors with care, and it is a pleasure to see them. There is not an unfunny second in this film. Clear History is a movie that keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat. The first comedy of its kind in a while.

The film has that sort of Curb Your Enthusiam-ness to it. There is a lot going on here, a lot more than described above, and each storyline is as entertaining as the next. It is hard to remember many comedies that work as well as this. Clear History has fallen from comedy heaven. It is a near miracle. There might never be anything like it again. By the end, it does have a sour after-taste. But for the sake of the movie, it is worth it.

This is probably the strangest of the “Films That Got Away”, mainly because it has only been out for a month. It is not quite a film that got away, bur rather, a film that is not going anywhere. I know plenty of people who have HBO and have never even heard of it. If it had been released a little sooner, it may have received an Emmy nomination. As  Larry David would say, “It’s pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty… pretty good.”

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