Monday, April 22, 2024

No Sour Grapes: Larry David Gives Star of His 1998 Movie Role in Brilliant “Curb” also featuring Lori Loughlin


I finally got around to last week’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and it was brilliant.

For one thing, Lori Loughlin sends herself up over the college admissions scandal. Her manager whoever deserves a medal for agreeing to this as Loughlin handles her role as an applicant to Larry’s country club with aplomb.

There’s another guest bit, from Sienna Miller, playing herself but as an actress who can only perform well on screen if she’s eating fruit. She’s about to be fired from a film because she’s so dull until Larry reminds her of her love of citrus.

But the real surprise guest star is Craig Bierko, who starred in Larry David’s huge 1998 flop movie, “Sour Grapes.” The film preceded “Curb” by two years, but was highly anticipated because of “Seinfeld.” It was painful to watch and has a 27% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Why hasn’t Bierko been on “Curb” all this time? David certainly owes him. The New York actor has worked steadily over the years, and was a big hit on Broadway with the 2000 revival of “The Music Man.” He famously turned down “Friends,” where he could have played Ross. In Sunday’s episode, Bierko was Man in the Theater — he didn’t even get a name, but he parries with Larry when David drapes his jacket on the back of his seat.

Episode of the final “Curb” season was the best by far but was murdered in the ratings last Sunday by the Oscars. HBO should really spotlight it again. The “Curb” team created within the episode two fake movies for Miller, and a fake stage play about Abraham Lincoln starring Loughlin and Ted Danson. There’s also a running incident of Larry learning the Gettysburg Address while urinating. It was classic Larry David a la “Seinfeld” and “Curb.”

My only quibbles with the episode: another run in with an Asian (the waiter from the Chinese restaurant with the dead fish) is one. The other was the bathroom humor about someone drawing penises on Susie’s billboard for her Catch As Caftan company. It wasn’t clever, except the punchline at the very end. (There is a funny bit about Jeff standing up for Susie that underscores their miserable marriage.)

Anyway, Miller should get a Guest Actress Emmy nod for her work, Loughlin has deftly returned to TV, and for the most part, “Curb” finally returned to form. New show tonight…

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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