Movie Review: 'Clear History' (2013)

The biggest compliment you can give a comedy is to say that it is funny. “Clear History” deserves a greater compliment than that. It is absolutely hilarious, with on the point comedic timing, crucial scene duration and incredible improvisational dialogue.

Larry David stars as a man who passes up on the opportunity of a lifetime, after a dispute with his business partner (Jon Hamm) and his subsequent journey for revenge. The story that ensues is better left vaguely described because it is too clever to be spoiled.

Where a lot of comedies fail or lose momentum in the third act, “Clear History” never does. All of the bits aren’t bits. They’re these wonderfully strung together, awkward moments that feel natural because they come from characters that are highly eccentric while, being genuine. Let’s face it; you have known at least one of these characters in your life.

The shock at what lead character, Rolly, says gives way to an uncomfortable laughter and then laughter at what he’s said in general. Directed by Greg Mottola (“Superbad”) the film flows with ease, never staying with one shtick for too long. The film never goes off the rails and respectively keeps to the tone set early in the film.

Larry David’s dry delivery as Nathan/Rolly is piercing and brilliant. All of his frank honesty is refreshing despite the insensitivity he shows to people’s feelings. Reminiscent of the rambling Woody Allen’s style, David’s diatribes are quirky and endearing. He is backed up by several “strait” guys. The phenomenal Danny McBride is great as David’s sidekick/buddy.

Michael Keaton is unrecognizable in his role. Eva Mendes is endearing in one of my favorite performances from her. Also surprising is the performance of Jon Hamm, who manages to be likable while maintaining, a touch of aloof jerk. 

Kate Hudson, Philip Baker Hall, J.B. Smoove, and Amy Ryan, all have time to shine in some memorable exchanges. Being a big fan of band Chicago, you might never quite hear their music the same way after seeing this movie, not a bad way though. “Clear History” is a little gem, a charming treat that is entertaining and a great way to lift your spirits. Rating: 8.6/10

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