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If I had believed all the negative on-line reviews for this film, I probably never would have rented it. But I'm very glad I didn't pay heed. While "Sour Grapes" may not quite reach the comedic heights of Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" on HBO, there's enough of David's hilarious, mean-spirited, offbeat humor to please any fan of his classic comedy series (oh, yeah, and Seinfeld fans, too). The circuitous way the plot unfolds and then crazily accelerates is very much in the style of both series and the two leads, especially the under-appreciated Craig Bierko,are great. Director and writer David takes perfect aim at such diverse targets as overbearing mothers (the actress in this part is wonderful), dutiful sons, feckless sitcom stars, brain surgeons (who shouldn't fiddle around with testicles), and homeless people. I can see why this film was a flop at the box-office. Larry David is an acquired taste and better suited to a niche audience on cable. But if you like anything else he's done, you shouldn't miss this overlooked little beauty.
Although it's been a long time since I've seen Sour Grapes, the
experience of seeing it- preferably alongside another Seinfeld fan- was
fairly pleasant, in that biting Larry David tone. This was the only
time David wrote and directed a film, and it does show that he's giving
a good try to tell a story within the framework of a film feature all
the way through. It's somehow quite an entertaining piece of quietly
(or not so quietly) deranged satire on envy, sexual frustration, and
the condition of a principle of something. The premise is simple- two
good friends go out to Las Vegas to gamble, one friend asks the other
for a quarter for a slot machine, and via the quarter in the slot
machine the guy wins a helluva lot of money. By the friend with the
original quarter's estimation, a part of that change is his, but the
friend now says that it isn't. A likely Seinfeld sub-plot is stretched
out so that the ideas are given a little breathing room, even if one
recognizes that, perhaps, it would be a masterpiece if it were simply a
Seinfeld episode, or more appropriately a Curb Your Enthusiasm with
even more acidic humor and total unease thrown at the situation.
Around the premise, David also tosses in a supporting character who has one of his testicles removed- the wrong one by the doctor, who is one of the friends- and despite his now high voice (ho-ho) he seeks out some payback. That's one of the clearest big gags, as obvious as it is, is the moment when the 'testicle-man', as one might be tempted to describe him, is told by the doctor that the wrong one was taken out during surgery, to his immediate fainted response in a cut-away. On top of this, David experiments with some stupid sex humor (not that there wasn't at least a little later on on CYE, eg Jeff's mother's ass at a stoplight), like with Bierko's character in the self-humiliation of not being able to, um, 'service' himself in a certain way, under the stress of the tear in the friendship. As mentioned, none of this really makes for the kind of classic comedy one might expect, or crave, from maybe one of the only geniuses (yeah, I said it) working in comedy today. But as almost something of a fluke, it does its job well.
It's so funny that I didn't know Larry David wrote the script to this movie,
because the whole time I was watching it I kept saying "That scene was just
like something out of Seinfeld." or "That character reminds me of George
Costanza" or "He kinda reminds me of Kramer.".
Larry David applies his unique brand of comedy to this script very well. It literally plays out like a long "Seinfeld" or "Curb Your Enthusiasm" episode. All the elements are here. Especially the way everything is related in the end.
The movie also has some really good performances from the cast, namely Steven Weber and Craig Bierko. Both of them are very fun to watch here. You can tell they must have had fun making the movie, because they work together very well.
Like I said, very Seinfeld-ish. Now that you know Larry David wrote it, you'll notice even more Larry David elements within the movie. They're everywhere when you consider the structure of the plot, the amplified & quirky characters etc...
Frankly, I find this movie difficult to watch every time. So many things occur that just seem to spiral down into chaos causing chaos causing chaos. The main characters, at first...you take a side...then eventually you'll realize that neither are in the right. But one does something to the other, which is unspeakably terrible...and receives the same in turn. Eventually when it's all over, something ultimately terrible happens. Suspense is not only something that relates to a horror film, in my opinion...upon seeing this film. The director perfected it to an almost migraine inducing level. If you are patient, this movie is fantastic. If you're not, and you simply can't stand it...well perhaps this isn't for you.
For all of the good things i had heard about this movie, i was very disappointed. This movie was nothing more than an extention of Seinfeld, which was co-created and written by Larry David. There are conversations about hotel sex and Craig Beirko reminded me of George with his constantly reminding everyone that a doctor didn't hold a door for him. Even the parody of "Friends", wasn't funny. Larry David is a smart and witty guy, but this movie was just a miss.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An old premise, family bickering over money, is never fully explored here. Weber and Bierko are cousins, Weber loans Bierko 50 cents on a slot machine, and when Bierko hits it big, Weber expects half the prize money (reasonable I'd say). Instead he and Bierko feud the rest of the way, with one pulling constant stunts on the other, none of which are very amusing. Weber, a doctor, tells Bierko he's dying, at which point Bierko actually tries to have his mother scared to death so she won't have to live without him. And Weber, so distracted by the feud with Bierko, inadvertently amputates both testicles of a big time tv star. And get ready to laugh your brains out...the tv star now talks in a high voice. Oh please stop, you're killing me. And you'll love when Bierko gives himself oral sex in a totally lame, unconvincing scene where he constantly picks his head wayyyyyy up and then down...yeah, sure. The mark is missed consistently in this letdown.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I'm a Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm fan. What I liked in this movie was its unique story and how things get going. Things get complicated like in Seinfeld and CYE, but that could have been done better. It's not so funny like in Larry David's sitcoms. Larry should have added more humor and talk-jokes in the movie script. It's like I'm watching a Seinfeld episode written by an amateur stand-up comedian. Larry, it was because of the money, wasn't'it? Both characters are very much like Larry David. They talk and make gestures in the same way Larry does in Curb Your Enthusiasm; this can be very annoying and boring (like "Pretty, pretty, pretty good..."). And the guy who won at the casino is not such a good actor. He reminds me of Stephen Snedden from spin off series The Lone Gunmen - he is really that bad. And his wife resembles Susie from Curb Your Enthusiasm. And that horrible soundtrack! It's always the same song over and over again. And I used to like classic music...
I really don't know whats wrong with people. Movies that really suck and
are devoid of any humor are considered funny and movies that are genuinely
funny get a 5.2 rating?
So this movie isn't exactly supposed to be intelligent or thought
provoking or even too subtle for that matter but what it does is make you
laugh. Not just slight chuckles but laugh till your stomach hurts.
The lead characters also do a pretty good job. The guy who wins the million dollars has a dialogue delivery style very similar to Norm McDonald (which is a good thing). It has this underlying sarcastic tone that makes almost anything he says funny. Like the Seinfeld series this movie too isn't about a real plot or anything but its amazing how creative people can be making you laugh with some of the silliest gags ever. After watching this film I felt light-headed. Almost anything seemed to amuse me after that. All day I had this annoying grin on my face with sudden outbursts of laughter just thinking about the movie. I know a good/funny movie when I see one. This one is genuinely funny. Try not to look for meaning or depth in it and you'll love it. Take my word for it. Its well worth your time.
This plays like an extended sitcom, with the only thing missing being a laugh track. The entire movie seems stretched with non relevant material, such as the missing bag of cookies, or the elevator rudeness. There are a few chuckles along the way to the rather dark conclusion. Neither Steven Weber or Craig Bierko elicits any sympathy, so you wind up really not caring who gets a leg up on whom. Both girlfriends and the Mother are nothing but annoyances. The whole script beyond the initial idea of the slot machine sequence, seems like forced outrageousness. At best, a rather mediocre film that belongs on television, and nothing more. - MERK
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Poss Spoilers: PROS: 1. Great idea for a movie. 2. Has Twists(goes in
directions that you never thought it'd go). 3. Had some funny moments.
4. Makes you have to think sometimes to find out what's going on! 5.
The poor people ruining Richie's home might make you cringe!
CONS: 1. Has too many twists(poosibly 1 too many); therefore, making the ending sloppy--at best! 2. Characters were just there and not developed(it's like they gave a 6th grader the idea and told the kid to run with it). 3. Evan's character should have been poor; that way, it would have made for an even more thought provoking movie! You would have felt sorry for Evan, if that had been the case. As it was, Richie was a super creep who you(viewer) let off the hook somewhat due to Evan being rich. Sometimes, you(Richie) just should feel obligated to ask do I need to compensate you. 4. The actor named Barry Pepper(of the Friends-like TV show) should have sued or forced Evan to settle out of court--instead of what he actually did as revenge. 5. Richie's plan regarding his mom was sloppy(and narcissistic); in real life, it wasn't practical; see it for yourself! There's no way to ensure that things would likely go the way they did in the movie. There's a comment between the 2 cousins that make reference to poor people as bums and both acknowledging this ignorance!
Two cousins are married; Evan and his wife are rich; while, Richie and his wife are middle class or poorer than middle class. Richie's mother, Selma, stays with them(revealed later that the property is--for all intents and purposes--his). The couples, while out on a casino outing one night, are playing at the casino. Richie runs out of quarters for his slot machine, Evan gives the 2 that to him that he is missing, and Richie wins the $436,000+ jackpot with those quarters. You'd think that since it's free money that Richie would offer Evan half! Evan, though rich, wants half! Richie, meanwhile, shows how frugal he is and--in totality--offers Evan checks for $1,000(first) and, then 3%! Selma doesn't help, as she's like Richie's parrot(on his side) and his wife says give him something meaningful--if not a half! It becomes a war! Neither wife can take it and leave; Evan pulls a nasty prank on Richie(and Evan is consumed to the point that he goes from being super doctor to making a CRITICAL ERROR at work); and Richie does something wild and crazy after Evan's prank(Evan's tantrum)! Evan "resends" his prank(but has trouble getting past his error), but Richie cannot resend his wild and crazy action. Richie is forced into being lucky to avoid prosecution, but receives some bad luck at the end that have a reap-what-you-have-sown effect! I tried to leave out what I could to let you watch it for yourself.
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