‘Klown’ Review


Film Pulse Score

Release Date: July 27, 2012 (Limited)
Director: Mikkel Nørgaard
MPAA Rating: R
Film Pulse Score: 7.5/10

Based on a Danish television program, Klovn: The Movie, or Klown, as it’s titled in the US, plays like the illegitimate spawn of Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Hangover. Although some of the comedy may be lost in translation, Klown still provides plenty of laughs, and some over the top raunch that would simply never be allowed in an American film.

The film stars Frank Hvam as Frank, a good intentioned, but ultimately imbecilic character, who discovers his girlfriend is pregnant.  Upon realizing she has no faith in him being a competent father, Frank decides to prove his paternal capabilities by taking his nephew on a camping trip with one of his buddies.  As one might expect, things go horribly awry, and hilarity ensues.

Like Larry David in Curb your Enthusiasm, much of this film’s humor comes from the situations that Frank gets himself into. His feeble attempts at proving himself worthy as a parent backfire every step of the way, and with each passing minute you can feel his young nephew being corrupted more and more. As Frank desperately tries to take control of the situation, he only digs himself into a deeper hole, which proves to be dire for him, and hilarious for us.

In addition to Frank mucking everything up, we have his friend Casper, played by Casper Christensen, who acts like a 15 year old boy trapped in a middle aged man’s body.  This man-child accompanies Frank and his nephew on their trip with one goal in mind- to get away from his girlfriend and have as much sex as possible.  The result of this adulterous behavior provides much of the situational comedy that’s prominent throughout the film.  The big difference between Casper and Frank though, is that Casper is such a despicable human being, it’s enjoyable to watch him suffer, while Frank is so pathetic, you almost feel sorry for him.

To say this film is outrageous is probably an understatement.  The over the top raunchiness and morally reprehensible things that happen in this film will certainly offend some viewers.  While admittedly, these were some of the funniest moments in the movie, there’s a more understated and dialogue-driven comedy here, you just have to peel back the layers of filth to find it. Good comedy works on several levels, more than just site gags and potty humor, and fortunately, this is the case for Klown.

There’s also a soft-sided nature to the film, albeit one that may be difficult to find.  It’s clear that Frank loves his girlfriend and wants to prove himself as a father to her, and while he doesn’t seem to care about his nephew in the slightest bit at the beginning, as their journey progresses, so does Frank’s bond with the child. Although this doesn’t become truly apparent till the last act, you can see their relationship progressing from just some kid he’s using to impress his girlfriend, to someone he truly cares about. It’s this dynamic that makes the film transcend from something completely soulless and abhorrent, to something with heart.

Klown is a unique comedy, in that it is a hybrid of comedic styles, which may be helpful, or detrimental to the film’s success.  Fans of more dry humor may find it too raunchy, and fans of gross-out comedies may find it too talkie.  For this critic, it was a perfect blend of both, mixing hilarious dialogue with shocking moments. For fans of comedy, this is a must see, if for no other reason, just to witness what film makers in other countries are allowed to get away with.