Overrated/Underrated: Something feels off about 'Curb,' and Mark Guiliana's new 'Jersey'

UNDERRATED

Ray Romano and Holly Hunter in ‘The Big Sick’: A recent on-demand arrival, this acclaimed rom-com adapted from the lives of co-writers Kumail Nanjiani (comic and star of HBO’s “Silicon Valley”) and Emily V. Gordon (his now-wife, portrayed by Zoe Kazan) was a left-field indie hit. But Romano and Hunter carry much of the film’s heart with their nuanced portrayal of Gordon’s worry-stricken parents, who arrive when their daughter falls into a coma and are thrown together with Nanjiani in an unflinchingly honest way that side-steps the genre’s easy cliches.

Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet’s ‘Jersey’: A drummer with a brain-bending talent for melding beats and electronics that’s found him on Brad Mehldau’s “Mehliana” duo project and as part of David Bowie’s “Blackstar” band, Guiliana has released his strongest statement yet with this recording, which came out last month. Teamed with saxophonist Jason Rigby, pianist Fabian Almazan and bassist Chris Morrissey, Guiliana offers a nimble yet hard-hitting take on modern post-bop that makes room for a loving cover of Bowie’s “Where Are We Now?” (Guiliana performs at the Blue Whale on Friday and Saturday.)

OVERRATED

An animated David Pumpkins: Helped along by an always-game Tom Hanks, this “Saturday Night Live” sketch from last year built around a haunted ride, a jack-o’-lantern suit and two dancers in skeleton suits was a surreal highlight of the season. Now, because “SNL” loves too much of a good thing, Pumpkins will become a one-off cartoon special that will probably build a story and logic around a gag that was funny because it defied both. “Any questions?” the animated Pumpkins will surely ask to reprise his goofy catchphrase. Yes. Why couldn’t NBC leave this alone?

The ‘Curb’ comeback: Six years after its last episode, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has returned, and for all the impeccable achievements on Larry David’s comic resume both with this series and “Seinfeld,” something seems a bit off with the formula this time. Maybe it’s because we’ve seen David ignore the feelings of others or inflate a petty grievance to the level of a volcanic eruption one too many times, or perhaps pampered male rage is funny for only so long. Or maybe it’s simply because there’s now someone else who acts out this sort of “comedy” on the world stage every day.

chris.barton@latimes.com

Follow me over here @chrisbarton.

ALSO:

Overrated/Underrated: James Franco is weirdly perfect in 'The Deuce,' and '2 Dope Queens' rules

With Alec Baldwin's Trump in hand, 'Saturday Night Live' returns with Ryan Gosling and uneven timing

Hugh Hefner left a problematic legacy, but his Playboy Jazz Festival endures

The troubling surveillance state of Jeremy Piven's tech visionary in 'Wisdom of the Crowd'

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
67°