Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm

"Excellent"

Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm Review


There's a moment in Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm that I became sure that I was dealing with a mockumentary. Larry is in the offices at HBO and, over Larry's shoulder, there was a poster for Lenny Bruce: Swear to tell the Truth. Seeing as the last documentary made by Robert Weide was the Academy-award nominated Lenny Bruce film, that was simply too coincidental to rule out any possibility that the documentary was real.

Of course I had my suspicions before that. The conversations Larry David was having were a little too Seinfeldian in nature. The conflicts a little too contrived. What they said all seemed to flow naturally, as most mockumentary dialogue does (see The Blair Witch Project's bit about Gilligan's Island). The camera shook just the right amount. The colors had that amateurish hue associated when you don't have cinematographers shining lights in people's faces or a very good DV. Knowing Weide's latest works (Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth and being the writer-producer for Mother Night), I couldn't help but crack a smile as I realized that one was being put over on millions of HBO viewers across the country. Its the exact kind of thing that Larry David and Robert Weide would (and obviously do) love.

The mockumentary is the documentary's teenager. It runs around, does whatever it wants, and keeps going back and forth between the line between entertainment and intelligence. Contrary to popular belief, it existed before this summer's smash The Blair Witch Project (see This is Spinal Tap), and will exist long after the profit record for BWP is broken. To give a simple definition, it is a documentary that either tackles a fake subject or tackles a real subject in a contrived way. Much as I praised Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth for being one of the finest documentaries I had ever seen, Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm is the best mockumentary I have ever seen.

Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm is the supposed documentary about the preparation for Larry David's return to stand up with an HBO special, which is eventually canceled at Larry's request (between a 3,000-seat auditorium and a picture of him that looked like Woody Allen as if a cigarette had just been removed from his mouth, he goes the way of George's dad and says "I can't take it anymore" (but of course lies about the reason)). Over the period of 44 days, Larry David is followed by the camera which records everything from a bit regarding Carolyn instead of Caroline, a near-divorce because Larry gets caught in the park with his adulterous manager's girlfriend, and a letter of recommendation gone to hell in a handbasket.

Because Weide is a great documentarian, he is able to be a great mockumentarian. He is so very familiar with the technical aspects and stylistic giveaways of documentary filmmaking that his mockumentary seems to be so perfectly real. It balances effortlessly the interviews and the raw footage, inserts David's comedy sets at just the right moments, and puts in some seriousness just to placate all documentary die-hards. Larry David is able to toss the jokes out with the same perfection as he did for nine years as a producer on "Seinfeld", and the two of them combine their efforts to make the mockumentary as surreally believable as some of the episodes of "Seinfeld" are.

As always, I cannot let a movie off without complaining about one thing. My complaint with Curb Your Enthusiasm is that the film seems to have too much direction to it to be completely believable. There are too many little touches for you to believe that this is real, and, in any mockumentary, this is distracting.

But it isn't distracting enough to keep you from laughing your ass off.



Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm

Facts and Figures

Run time: 57 mins

In Theaters: Sunday 17th October 1999

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 8.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Larry David

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.