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Clear History

Clear History

Fri Dec 6, 9-11pm, Sky Atlantic

By Gabriel Tate
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After announcing that ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ was on hiatus, Larry David took some time to make this HBO film about a high-achieving loser whose successes are too often thwarted by his foot and its frequent visits to his mouth. This guy may be called Nathan Flomm, work in marketing and be seeking revenge against the prickish boss who forces him out of his electric car start-up and into anonymous exile (hence the title), but Flomm’s roots are all too clear.

‘Clear History’ certainly ticks off all the David tropes, with social faux pas (cutlery etiquette, the location of plug sockets, ‘dwarf racism’) nestling alongside a jaunty orchestrated soundtrack. And then there’s the megawatt cast: Amy Ryan as an old flame and Eva Mendes a potential conquest; Jon Hamm as Flomm’s business nemesis; Michael Keaton and Bill Hader as his partners-in-payback.

But the high points – especially a brilliantly worked running gag about soft-rockers Chicago – are spread too thinly, and David’s improvised comedy of embarrassment is now very familiar. Fun, but you’ll find yourself pining for ‘Larry David’ long before the end.
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