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Movie Review: Klown

July 30, 2012

Klown is a Danish film based on a popular television series (Klovn) that ran six seasons before things wrapped up in 2009. Now the co-creators who also starred in the series bring their ribald brand of comedy to the big screen in a madly inappropriate take on the classic road trip film.

Frank (Frank Hvam) and Casper (Casper Christensen) make an unlikely pair. Casper is perpetually looking for ways to get laid, never mind that he is married. He orchestrates a weekend canoe trip under the guise of having a boy’s weekend, but he really wants to get away from his wife, and dubs the weekend “Tour de Pussy”, even though mild-mannered Frank has no interest on cheating on his girlfriend. Casper is the alpha dog and walks all over Frank. It’s hard to understand why Frank puts up with the obnoxious blowhard. At one point Casper bluntly tells Frank he is too ugly to gain entrance into a brothel, and then makes him wait outside until he finishes his business. You get the feeling that Frank hangs out with Casper because no one else will.

Just prior to their trip, Frank accidentally finds out his girlfriend is pregnant, and she hasn’t told him because she doesn’t consider him father material. Frank is devastated, and hatches a plan to “kidnap” his girlfriend’s nephew Bo for the trip. His warped reasoning is that the weekend will go so well that his girlfriend will reconsider. Needless to say, this doesn’t sit well with Casper, who has no intention of giving up his quest for sex. I’m sure you can see where this is heading. Poor Bo is stuck with two of the worst role models imaginable. He accompanies the men through various misadventures as they make their way down the river.

At first I didn’t think that I “got” the Danish humor, but after settling in for a bit, I started to see its charm. It’s very much in the same vein as Curb Your Enthusiasm or Bad Santa, where awkward encounters and situations comprise most of the story. If you don’t like that type of humor, this is not the film for you. It pushes the boundaries a bit more than our typical rated R comedy, so be prepared for lots of raunch.

What’s notable about Klown is that it actually has heart. Frank is absurdly endearing, and his misguided struggle to prove his worth is really quite tragic. Thanks to Casper, he was destined for failure from the get-go. He’s not a bad person (while Casper is despicable); he is just a sad sack of a man. It’s much easier to see bad things happen to a Larry David type because he is a grouch, but Frank is a clueless, huggable teddy bear.

While Klown might not be for everyone, I’m sure it will join the ranks of quirky films with a cult following. I shudder to think what props might show up at a midnight showing.  *Klown is filmed in Danish with subtitles. Available in limited release and on VOD. – Shannon

Rating 4/5


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