Television release poster
|Directed by||Greg Mottola|
|Produced by||Bradley Thomas
|Written by||Larry David
Philip Baker Hall
J. B. Smoove
|Music by||Ludovic Bource|
|Editing by||Steven Rasch|
|Production company||HBO Films|
|Running time||100 minutes|
Clear History is an American HBO comedy film written by Larry David, Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer, directed by Greg Mottola and starring Larry David, Kate Hudson, Danny McBride, Philip Baker Hall, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes, Amy Ryan, Bill Hader and J. B. Smoove. The film was released on August 10, 2013.
In 2003, Nathan Flomm (Larry David) is an opinionated, obnoxious business associate of a man, Will Haney, whose company is about to introduce a new electric car. Flomm strenuously objects to the car being named the Howard. He offends Haney, who is naming the car after his young son, and after Flomm accepts a flat buyout payment to cut ties with the company, he becomes a ridiculed public figure when the Howard is a huge success, costing Flomm what would have been his share -- a billion dollars.
Ten years later, Flomm changes his name to Rolly DaVore and moves to Martha's Vineyard, beginning a new life and making new acquaintances. They include a new best friend, Frank, a former lover, Wendy, and a builder, McKenzie.
Flomm, taken to a party by Frank, punches a black man, Jaspar, after being surprised by him. Flomm then ruins the budding romance of a (formerly-heavyset, but now very attractive) local woman, Jennifer (Eva Mendes), with Jaspar, after he tells her she should date other men before settling for Jaspar.
Then, when it turns out the rock band Chicago is returning to the vineyard, Flomm hears a rumor that Wendy had sex with multiple members of the band after a concert. He is upset that everyone seems to know about this but him.
Haney, now a wealthy auto-mogul, arrives at the island and begins building a mansion. Although Flomm is relieved when Haney doesn't recognize him, he does not think he can bear remaining on the island. But then, inspired by the movie "The Fountainhead," he becomes determined to gain revenge for his lost billion dollars. Flomm schemes to undermine blow up the mansion, and Frank introduces him to explosives expert Stumpo (Michael Keaton) and his friend Rags (Bill Hader). He then persuades McKenzie, who is the construction foreman, to let him be part of the construction crew. He continues to inquire about Wendy's sexual contact with Chicago. Stumpo tells him he will need to get a detonator.
After Flomm meets with Tibor, a Chechnyan criminal supplying a detonator, Flomm bumps into Tibor's new car (a Howard). Tibor demands Flomm pay for the damage. Jennifer later takes up with Tibor.
While on the construction project, Flomm worms his way into a close friendship with Haney's wife, Rhonda, pretending to know more about architecture than he really does. Meanwhile, he tells Tibor that Jennifer performed oral sex on members of the band Chicago. Flomm mistakes Rhonda's attentions for her having fallen in love with him, which will now be his revenge, rather than blowing up Haney's new house. During a heated argument with Rhonda over who should move their car, Flomm mistakes the passion for interest in him and kisses her. Rhonda is repulsed, asking: "Are you crazy?"
Flomm proceeds with the plotted destruction of the house, to occur during Chicago's concert performance. The band confirms to Flomm that two of them did indeed receive oral sex from Wendy on their previous visit.
Furious at his romance with Jennifer being ruined, Jaspar discovers Flomm's true identity and reveals it publicly. Haney turns up at the concert and shocks Flomm by embracing him, saying he's been trying to locate him for years. He wants to pay Flomm the billion dollars, feeling guilty over their falling out.
Flomm is elated and attempts to keep Stumpo and Rags from destroying the mansion to no avail. The three of them end up in prison. Three years later, bearded and shaggy-haired again, Flomm returns to Martha's Vineyard and reunites with Frank. Flomm then runs into Jennifer at a bar (she's heavy again), where a spark develops between them and they decide to go on a date. Flomm, having cleaned up and gotten rid of the beard, is welcomed warmly by his poker buddies for a game. One friend refers to Haney and Rhonda having gone back to California for treatments, as Haney has developed an undisclosed illness. And Wendy inherited millions. The friends actually thank Flomm for destroying the mansion as they felt it was obnoxious. They also tell Flomm the Chicago concert was great and that everybody had a great time, including the band, as Flomm learns to his horror, Jennifer performed fellatio on three of the band members that night.
- Larry David as Nathan Flomm, a disgraced former marketing executive, now living alone under the name Rolly DaVore
- Bill Hader as Rags, Stumpo's friend and henchman
- Philip Baker Hall as McKenzie, a foreman
- Jon Hamm as Will Haney, Flomm's former boss
- Kate Hudson as Rhonda Haney, Will's wife
- Michael Keaton as Joe Stumpo, a quarry operator
- Danny McBride as Frank, Flomm's best friend
- Eva Mendes as Jennifer
- Amy Ryan as Wendy, Flomm's ex-girlfriend
- J. B. Smoove as Jaspar
- Liev Schreiber as Tibor. Schreiber's appearance remains uncredited due to his involvement in Ray Donovan, broadcast by HBO's rival network Showtime.
- Amy Landecker as Nathan's Wife
- Marianne Leone Cooper as Joyce
- Mary Klug as Tibby
- Patty Ross as Gladys
- Mike Cerrone as Poker Buddy
- Lenny Clarke as Poker Buddy
- Dorothy Dwyer as Poker Buddy
- Peter Farrelly as Poker Buddy
- Jimmy Tingle as Poker Buddy
Members of the rock band Chicago appear as themselves.
The film began principal photography in July 2012. The film was shot on location in the Massachusetts towns of Topsfield, Essex, North Andover, and Beverly, including the North Shore Music Theatre. Around 300 full-time workers were needed on-set.
Clear History has received mixed to positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 52% based on 21 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10. Another review aggregation website Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 top reviews from mainstream critics, calculated a score of 69 based on 17 reviews.
Linda Stasi of the New York Post gave the film three and a half stars out of four, saying "Clear History is so funny it made me want to order up some Palestinian chicken." Brian Lowry of Variety gave the film a negative review, saying "It's hard to fault HBO for letting him indulge in this flight of fancy, particularly given all the marquee names he attracts. Still, without an ability to focus those appetites, Clear History yields the occasional chuckle, but somewhat curbed enthusiasm." David Hiltbrand of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film a negative review, saying "Despite a number of funny lines sprinkled through the script, this History isn't very memorable." Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe gave the film a negative review, saying "Even if you do like David’s shtick, as I do, you have no business here. The movie plays out something like an extra-long but subpar episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Many fans are hungering for a new season of “Curb,” which last aired in 2011. Don’t expect “Clear History” to fill the void." Allison Keene of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a positive review, saying "With its seaside setting and lighthearted fun, Clear History is a kind of pleasant, late-summer gazpacho, enjoyed to the sounds of Chicago and debates about whether there is a racial preference between black and white dwarves. That last part should prove that while Larry David might look and feel a little different in this project, he could never be mistaken, like Flomm is, for anyone else."
Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a positive review, saying "If it doesn't have quite the compressed power of a "Curb" episode, it's in part because we know Larry David in a way that we don't know Nathan Flomm (who may strike us here as a man doing an imitation of Larry David). Still, the comic TV movie has become a rare thing (if you factor out the Lifetime and Hallmark rom-coms); its return is welcome." Robert Bianco of USA Today gave the film a negative review, saying "If you're a fan of Curb Your Enthusiasm, think of this as an extended version of Curb. If you're not, History will not convert you." Hank Stuever of The Washington Post gave the film a positive review, saying "It has a nice, confident and well-edited breeze to it (including a lot of jokes about the band Chicago), with a fun cast that includes standout riffs from Michael Keaton, Danny McBride and Eva Mendes." Laura Bennett of The New Republic gave the film a negative review, saying "Clear History was improvised from 35 pages of script. "You are such an asshole!" one Vineyard resident tells Flomm, which is the movie's main revelation." David Wiegand of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film three out of four stars, saying "It will take only a few minutes of Clear History... not only to "forgive" David for repeating himself but to thank him for reminding us why we miss Curb Your Enthusiasm and hope it comes back soon."
Clear History was released on DVD and Blu-ray, on November 5, 2013.
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- Patten, Dominic (June 6, 2013). "HBO Ends ‘Eastbound & Down’ With Season 4; ‘Boardwalk Empire’, Larry David’s ‘Clear History’ & ‘Hello Ladies’ Premieres Set". Deadline.com. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- "Making ‘Clear History’ in the North region". The Boston Globe. October 11, 2012. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Rosenberg, Steven A. (October 11, 2012). "Larry David brings all-star cast to North Shore". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- Shanahan, Mark (November 6, 2012). "Susanna Hoffs spotted hanging out in Natick". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
- "Clear History". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- "Clear History - Season 1 Reviews". Metacritic. 2013-08-05. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- Stasi, Linda (2013-07-31). "'Clear History' has a funny bone to pick". NYPOST.com. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- Goldblatt, Daniel (2013-08-07). ""Clear History" Review HBO". Variety. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- David Hiltbrand, Inquirer TV Critic (2012-10-22). "Weekend cable lineup includes a new comedy, royal court and crime". Philly.com. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- Gilbert, Matthew. "‘Clear History’: Larry David’s overwhelming Larry Davidness - Television". Boston.com. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- Keene, Allison (2011-11-17). "Clear History: TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- Lloyd, Robert (2013-08-10). "Review: Larry David's 'Clear History' showcases some 'Curb' control". latimes.com. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
- Robert Bianco, USA TODAY (2013-08-09). "Weekend TV: 'The White Queen,' 'Clear History'". Usatoday.com. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
- Hank Stuever (2013-08-09). "HBO’s ‘Clear History’: Larry David, slightly restrained". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
- Bennett, Laura. "'Clear History' Review: Larry David Plays Himself, Again". New Republic. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
- David Wiegand (2013-08-07). "'Clear History' review: Larry David plays to type". SFGate. Retrieved 2013-08-18.
- "Clear History Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 2013-08-18.