When we first saw a shaggy-haired Larry David pop up online last month in a teaser for his upcoming HBO movie Clear History, it was pretty shocking, causing us to think the role of Nathan Flomm would be a departure from the man we’ve loved to loathe on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Not that hair makes a person, as David’s TV persona would tell you, but we’ve been looking at essentially the same Larry David since his first appearance on Seinfeld. And then the first clip appeared, and it teased David’s familiar high-pitched argumentative voice.
And now that we have Clear History’s first full trailer, courtesy of Entertainment Tonight’s website, it’s both comforting and minutely disappointing to find the film will deliver the same slightly uncomfortable, neo-curmudgeon that we’re used to. But I take comfort in much of the film’s plot centered on Jon Hamm’s Will Haney not being able to recognize Flomm without the head of hair he’d previously had. The man has a face that just doesn’t look right behind a beard.
All follicle-related business aside, the trailer had me chuckling throughout, and was reinvigorated by the film’s cast, which stretches out longer than eight Howards. The tone is perfectly low-key, even with seemingly big plot stakes. Greg Mattola’s direction mixes cinematic and single-camera TV aesthetics appropriately. The script from David, Alec Berg, David Mandel and Jeff Schaffer was only a bunch of set directions, as the film is entirely improvisational, but they still manage to make Larry David look like a schmo. “Apologies don’t have to be sincere.”
He plays a marketing executive for an electric car company that gives up his 10 shares of the business after arguing with his boss Haney over a petty argument over naming the car Howard. The company makes billions of dollars and Flomm’s life is destroyed. 10 years, a name change and a move across the country later, Flomm is living on a small island, when Haney appears back in his life, unaware that he’s the same guy. Observational hilarity ensues.
It’s amazing with all the people shown in the trailer that some were still missing. Filling out the cast are Danny McBride, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Kate Hudson, J.B. Smoove, Amy Ryan, Live Schreiber, Paul Scheer, Philip Baker Hall and Bill Hader. It’s nearly the perfect comedy cast, give or take a Hudson or Mendes. I’ll be surprised if Danny McBride isn’t the most quotable part of the movie, bringing up Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapper and all.
Get your tat with your tit when Clear History premieres on August 10 on HBO.