Movie Review, Curb your Enthusiasm by Larry David

By MILT GROSS | Jul 14, 2013

Dolores and I feel really "out of it," behind the times, or whatever other ways one might describe a couple who had never viewed any of the Curb your Enthusiasm TV series.

There is a reason: it ran for a decade on HBO, and we don't subscribe to HBO.

We saw the first couple of DVDs Netflix style, and were sure glad we did.

This was one of the most cynical and hilarious series we'd never seen. To briefly deal with the story line, the Netflix description states, "This Emmy Award-winning mockumentary series about the day-to-day dramas of neurotic writer Larry David (played by real-life neurotic writer and "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David) seems like an open-and-shut case of art imitating life -- and it's got the celebrity cameos to prove it. Cheryl Hines co-stars as Larry's infinitely patient wife, with Jeff Garlin playing the part of Larry's best friend and longtime

manager."

 

To sidetrack from the stories for a minute, Cheryl Hines did a great job in acting the part of Larry's wife. We've only known her in the newer series, Suburgatory, in which she plays the ditsy (whatever that means), supposedly sexy sort-of significant other for the lead. She plays that role so well we thought she was that way, actually that way in real life. But in Curb your Enthusiasm she is a level-headed, attractive wife who tries her best to keep Larry on the straight and narrow of what a straight-and-narrow husband should be.

 

She fails, of course, because the story lines, created by David himself, shows him constantly doing dumb things and inept responses to the every-day things that others do. Both of them pull off their parts really well.

 

What struck us is that the material at the beginning of the DVD states that none of the stories were written. How they pulled that off is beyond me. The stories obviously were planned and well thought out, just not written. However they pulled that off worked very well.

 

Larry's stumbling and bumbling his way through a whole bunch of mistaken responses to life produces a wonderful series.

 

He actually plays what appears to be himself, a writer of this and that, and it is in that context he moves within the stories. Jeff Garlin, who plays Larry's best friend and manager, also creates a believable character who helps Larry cope with his strange predicaments. Some of those predicaments and Larry's reactions to them are criticized by Garlin in a realistic way that lets the viewer know there is trouble brewing down the pike.

 

What I think must have been hard for David was to create stories in which he does the dumb or wrong things. He creates himself as a bumbler. All the nine or so episodes we viewed showed him in that light.  Maybe that's normal; I often view myself in a similar light, never as a hero….except in minor predicaments such as figuring out how to deal with a cat who insists on sneaking out in the evening and staying out all night in the face of all the hungry-for-cat critters that haunt the woods pressing against our yard. (My solution, not that it matters, is to understand that she will eventually become hungry and thirsty, and since we feed the two felines only indoors, she will eventually enter the indoors to survive should she live that long.)

 

But to create -- especially without writing it -- that bumbly role for yourself must have been either difficult -- or easy, if that is how David views himself.

 

David, according to Wikipedia, "(born July 2, 1947) is an American actor, writer, comedian, and television producer. He is best known as the head writer and executive producer of the television series Seinfeld, from 1989 to 1998, and as its co-creator, with Jerry Seinfeld. David has subsequently gained further recognition for the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm, once a mostly improvised sitcom, also created by David, in which he stars as a semi-fictionalized version of himself.

"David's work won him a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1993. Formerly a standup comedian, David went into television comedy, writing and starring in ABC's Fridays, as well as writing briefly for Saturday Night Live. He has won two Primetime Emmy Awards as well as being voted by fellow comedians and comedy insiders as number 23 of the greatest comedy stars ever in a British poll to select The Comedian's Comedian."

David did enough other successful projects so writing about it would be too lengthy for this column.

 

However we got along without viewing the series all the ten years it aired, we intend to view the rest by renting them from Netflix. (Motto: if you don't have HBO, at least have Netflix.)

Seeing all the Seinfeld episodes (I think), I realized that David dumped that same sometimes bumbly, victimized characteristic onto the lead character in that series.

Maybe we're all that way.

To find out (or not), we're planning to view all the series offered by Netflix.

Now that I've bumbled my way through this review, I highly recommend seeing Curb your Enthusiasm for yourself either for the first time, as we way-behind-the-viewing-times DVD enthusiasts did or to renew the fun you had in seeing them first time around.

Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at lesstraveledway@roadrunner.com.

Milton M. Gross Copyright 2013


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