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Klown Forever | Review

In Heart a Clown: Norgaard Takes another Spin with Popular Man-Children Duo

Klown Forever PosterFor those familiar with the various trials and travails of best buddies Casper and Frank, popularized in Danish television with Mikkel Norgaard’s comedic series “Klown” (2005-2009), which provided the basis for a big screen spin off (and his directorial debut) Klown in 2010, you already have an idea of what you’re getting in to with this 2015 sequel, Klown Forever, just making its way to US theaters. Returning players Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen, who originated these personas as exaggerated caricatures of themselves as semi-known personalities thrust into awkward social expectations satirizing stereotypes of masculinity, are as deranged as ever as they attempt to author a ‘friendship book,’ which is hampered when Casper unexpectedly moves to Los Angeles, forcing an anxious Frank to follow to stop them from drifting apart. However, their shenanigans have grown a bit long in tooth, and much of this unnecessary sequel depends on extreme ludicrousness to generate the sort of laughs which came frequently and easily in previous iterations. Entertaining in much the same way a cheaply produced television special reunion would be able to muster, it isn’t the installment to begin with as an introduction to these characters, though a core fan base will most likely find enough here to stay tuned through the finale.

Norgaard curiously took a break from Frank and Casper by helming the first two installments of Nordic noir series The Department Q Trilogy (with 2013’s The Keeper of Lost Causes and the first sequel, The Absent One a year later), and returning to them in this fashion almost feels a bit regressive. The Danish duo are perhaps the closest male versions to something like Eddie and Patsy of Britain’s “Absolutely Fabulous” (also recently treated to a cheaply administered cinematic capstone), in the sense of retaining a similar formula of a wild and unstable friend consistently drawing a more familial oriented bestie into constant nonsensical situations. The only trouble is, men behaving badly never plays like a novel idea, so what made the first Klown movie seem a bit more relevant was how it skewered notions of fatherhood, masculinity, and male sexuality with a highly uncomfortable scenario involving and Casper introducing a preadolescent to countless inappropriate situations on a road trip.

This time around, it feels like we’ve seen it all before, and it incapacitates Frank’s wife Mia (Mia Lyhne) in a familiar way, just having birthed a second child while her hapless husband chases Casper half way around the world. As Casper’s ex-wife, actress Iben Hjejle’s role is cut down considerably, while Elsebeth Steentoft as Frank’s one-eyed mother-in-law (a memorable instance from the last film) scores some amusing moments. The foundation of this adventure, however, is episodic and jumbled. Simply put, Casper seems to tire of Frank’s increasing allegiance to his wife, so when he suddenly jets off to Los Angeles right as a book detailing their lifelong friendship is set to be published, Frank panics and follows his old pal. Until a strange transgression occurs and all parties return to Denmark for the resulting fallout.

The Los Angeles sequences play as expected with a belabored segment where Frank and Casper interact with a couple of sexually aggressive black women who live in South Central Los Angeles and aren’t quite believable as sisters or lascivious wonton women. Cameos from Adam Levine and Isla Fisher are random and rather ineffective, while Nikolaj Coster-Waldau pops up on more than one occasion.

Klown Forever doesn’t actually exude any real potency until Frank has drunken sex with Casper’s daughter Cille (Simone Colling), who may have gotten pregnant from the interaction. This results in Casper demanding “an eye for an eye,” cooking up a scheme to bed Mia (without her knowing it), the only delirious instance matching the zany energy of their previous road trip. It’s also more difficult to ignore the cheap look of the film, the brightly lit interiors, of which there are many, making this seem like a hurriedly filmed reality television series (DP Jacob Banke Olesen returns, but the washed out, soft-lit sequences in Los Angeles and Denmark are equally sterile and unremarkable).


Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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