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Klown | Review

A Buffoon Buffet: Danish Comedy Brazen, Ballsy, Adult Fun

Mikkel Norgaard Klown PosterWitness the most surprising, and hands down, funniest film to be released in American theaters this year with Klown, the feature debut of Mikkel Nørgaard, based on his 2005-2009 Danish television series of the same name. Released in his native country in 2010, the film has managed to gain some notoriety playing at a small number of festivals stateside, the content so brazen, so daring, so adult (not pornographic, per se, but in its ability to be realistic in its comedic scenarios and not cop out to please the fantasies of the moral majority), that it reveals its closest American counterpoint, The Hangover to be the bullshitty scam it really is. And surprisingly, it’s got a crack at being dumped into American cinemas, though it may already be destined for cult superstardom since it is utterly offensive to mainstream sensibilities. Oh, and it’s subtitled.

Frank (Frank Hvam) and Casper (Casper Christensen) are about to embark on a buddy vacation together, both leaving their extremely accommodating girlfriends behind. What’s supposed to be a canoe trip for some camping and bonding in the wild, is secretly termed the “Tour De Pussy,” where they will seek out a near mythical brothel run by a gentlemen they joined a book club to canoodle with. However, Frank’s girlfriend, Mia (Mia Lyhne) has just revealed to Frank that she’s pregnant, but she’s not so sure he’s fatherhood material and is considering leaving him. To prove her wrong, he abducts the 12-year-old Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen), whom Mia was supposed to babysit for the weekend, in order to prove that he’s more than capable of taking care of a child. But Casper is greatly upset at having a preadolescent along on their Tour of P. And yes, as they progress in their endeavors of said conquests, several transgressions occur that push the boundaries of good taste, and to extremely hilarious effect.

Comparatively, Klown may seem pretty similar to Curb Your Enthusiasm, mainly because it never devolves into slapstick, each absurd scenario played in absolute deadpan. Masculinity fears and poor decision making skills are the driving force behind Klown, and it owes everything to its two leads, comedians Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen, basically playing send-ups of themselves. Each scenario they bungle, like a series of unfortunate events, all seems hilariously realistic, as if they all could realistically happen. These men are stupid, insipid, distasteful, but at the same time, they manage to pull of a harebrained sort of charm and charisma. They manage to use sex and sexuality in ways that aren’t demeaning, but simply priceless, something American audiences may not be entirely used to. They’re too ridiculous to be considered thorough misogynists, and they’re too realistically experimental to be homophobic. Also featuring other notable Danish actors, including Iben Hjejle (High Fidelity, 2000) and Elsebeth Steentoft (Teddy Bear, 2012), there’s never a dull moment in Klown, which ends as quickly as it begins, on a deliriously high note like an exhilarating ride you want to repeat immediately after it ends. You’re not going to see anything in the English language match this anytime soon.

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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