Klown (Klovn) Film Review (2010)

There was a time when it seemed that the only way an American studio knew how to make money was to churn out some poorly written, slapstick, gross-out comedy with sexual hijinks that invoked cringes, laughs, and three or four poorly written sequels. But just to be clear: films relying entirely on hyper-sexualized situations don’t necessarily have to be from a US studio, as the Danish film Klown demonstrates.

 

KLOWN FILM REVIEW AND THEATRICAL TRAILER CONTINUED BELOW

Klown follows the clueless and witless Frank (Frank Hvam), who just found out his wife Mia (Mia Lyhne) is pregnant and doesn’t think that Frank has what it takes to be a good father. To prove her wrong, in a series of severe and increasingly poor decisions, Frank kidnaps his 12-year-old nephew Bo (Marcus Jazz Petersen) and takes him on a trip for high-priced prostitutes — a plot conceived by Frank’s friend Casper (Casper Christensen). Frank is intent on showing Mia he can be a good father while Casper is intent on having as much sex as possible. The sexual romp, under the poor disguise of a canoe trip, leads the trio into worse and worse scenarios while all the while giving them a common bond to live with.

From pretty close to its beginning, where a group of old Danish men are teaching Frank the way of a “pearl necklace” in order to revitalize the passion between him and Mia, it is clear that Klown is operating on a sexualized mindset unseen on American soil since the first American Pie. But Klown is less American Pie than it is Sideways, as it is a romp between two middle-aged men having their own separate but real middle-aged issues. Frank is desperate to show that he can be a father and sustain a family; Casper is desperate to forget he even has one.

Christensen also wrote the film, and him and director Mikkel Norgaard don’t hold back on the juvenile sexual escapades that will leave you gasping for air. Frank is a jaw-droppingly dumb character, who slowly but lets you in on the reasoning behind his poor decisions — many of which are severely logically-flawed, but still understandable. Despite the fact that virtually all of the major laughs of the film rely on bizarre sexual scenarios, Norgaard doesn’t let the film just turn into another stupid gross-out comedy. Hvam is brilliant in his oafish cluelessness and leaves you pulling for him to succeed, despite his demonstrating with every decision that his parenting ability is a large question mark. Petersen is fantastic as the socially inept and “small-willied” Bo, who, for a time, is the only one who sees the good in what Frank is trying to accomplish.

Shock factor is truly present in Klown — including one of the most outrageous sexual scenarios put to film in recent years and an ending showcasing a photo of male anatomy that might be borderline illegal in the United States. The heart that goes into Frank and Casper’s exploit keeps the film going and makes it one of the funnier, more disgusting, and phenomenally raunchy comedies to come by the States in a while.

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Klown is presented by the Seattle International Film Festival and is showing at the Egyptian Theatre at 11:59 PM on June 2nd, 2012. Click HERE to buy tickets.