Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Complete Third Season (2000)
"I thought I'd never say this, but Larry's right."- Wanda (Wanda Sykes)
Stars: Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines, Susie Essman
Other Stars: Ted Danson, Richard Lewis, Wanda Sykes, Paul Reiser, Martin Short, Michael York, Alanis Morrisette, Krazee-Eyez Killa, Martin Scorsese, Cheri Oteri, Jill Danson, Joan Rivers, Tim Kazurinsky, Richard Kind, Paul Dooley, Paul Sand
Director: Robert B. Welde, Larry Charles, Bryan Gordon, Andy Ackerman, David Steinberg
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language)
Run Time: 05h:00m:00s
Release Date: 2005-01-18
DVD ReviewHBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm is what Seinfeld really should have been, a far more mean-spirited series about the misadventures of a gloriously self-absorbed guy. Each episode kind of unfurls in what seems like no specific direction, and star Larry David (creator/writer of Seinfeld) plods through his day-to-day activities, pissing people off with his deadpan frankness and causing a myriad of small problems that somehow swell into something larger by the end of each half-hour episode.
He is truly the original "say the wrong thing" guy, and his too-beautiful-for-him wife Cheryl (Cheryl Hines) seems to have the patience of a saint, while slightly rotund best pal Jeff (Jeff Garlin) often finds himself wedged in the middle of one of Larry's snowballing problems. As the cameras follow Larry around in what almost seems like a documentary approach, real-life celebrities play themselves (Ted Danson, Paul Reiser, Richard Lewis, Michael York) as a part of his life, and unlike a typical network sit-com "celeb stunt", these folks all play themselves naturally, and their presence seems normal by comparison. It's not a casting stunt, it's real life, baby.
There is yet more of the show's trademark distinctive style of comedy here, and it is the thing that made the first two seasons so unusually good. One of the keys that account for this is that it is shot with no formal script, and the cast is simply given rough outlines of each episode or scene. This degree of improv makes all of the dialogue sound like what it is supposed to be: natural conversation that is filled with the kind of stalls and hesitations you might hear anywhere. The fact that David, Garlin, Hines, Richard Lewis and the rest of cast do this not only effortlessly but with a great deal of comedic flair gives the effect of watching a reality show, and not a situation comedy.
A subplot about an investment in a new restaurant is recurring across the ten episodes of this Season Three set, from finding a chef to picking out uniforms, all tweaked with some colossal miscue or over-reaction by Larry. In between this occasional subplot, Larry attempts to feed Benedryl to a Christian Scientist, compliments a man on the size of his son's penis, causes a panic about a rumored terrorist attack, and has to deal with the death of his mother, all delivered with the same kind of brutally realistic obscenity-laced dialogue that flows with a unique kind of realism. Oh yeah, and Alanis Morrisette ends up in a neck brace.
As I was watching this third season release, I lost count how many times I heard my wife and/or daughter say "Oh my God, he is just like you!" That may not be the goal I should be striving for, but when I find myself laughing so hard I have to wonder if maybe it's that bad after all.
Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: As with previous seasons, all episodes are presented in their original aspect ratio, with generally warm, natural colors. The show is shot in what seems to be an almost mock documentary style, so there is not a particularly polished look to the end product. No major flaws or imperfections, aside from minor grain.
Image Transfer Grade: B
|DS 2.0||English, French||yes|
Audio Transfer Review: Audio is provided in a straight forward 2.0 surround mix, though this is basically all about the front channels. Not much in the way of flash or fluff, just clean, understandable dialogue.
A French language 2.0 track is also included.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 10 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French with remote access
Extras Review: Extras are minimal, with Favorite Scenes from the Stars and Directors (25m:51s) and A Stop and Chat at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen (22m:01s) both covering the same ground. Both segments primarily feature discussion of the improv nature of the show.
Each episode represents one chapter, with optional subtitles in English, French or Spanish.
Extras Grade: B
Final CommentsWhat does it say about me if I see a little of Larry David in myself? That's not good, is it?
This is funny stuff. Highly recommended.
Rich Rosell 2005-02-17