The Schmooze

Larry David by Another Name Is Just as Obnoxious

It’s hard to tell sometimes whether Larry David is experimental or just lazy.

Consider all of those characters playing themselves, or some version of themselves, on “Curb Your Enthusiasm”: Richard Lewis, Wanda Sykes, Larry David himself. Is that a bold blending of reality and fiction or is it all he’s got to work with?

David’s latest outing, the HBO movie “Clear History” (which aired August 10 and will be out on DVD this fall), begs the question again. The story and setting are far from the comfortable Hollywood environment of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” but the character is the same “Larry David” — only this time masquerading under a different name. Is this some kind of conceptual feat, or just the inability to come up with anything new?

At the start of “Clear History” we see David, playing a character named Nathan Flomm, cruising down the California highway in a convertible, long hair and beard flowing in the wind. He’s a Silicon Valley marketing guru, working for an about-to-take-off electric car company. But thanks to a typically stubborn, “Larry David”-esque argument over the car’s name — his boss, played by Jon Hamm, wants to call it the “Howard” after both his son and the hero of Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” — he quits and cashes in his stock, which turns out to be a gigantic, billion-dollar mistake.

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Larry David by Another Name Is Just as Obnoxious

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