Director: Mikkel Norgaard
Starring: Frank Hvam, Casper Christensen, Marcuz Jess Petersen, Mia Lyhne, Iben Hjejle
Kind of loosely of a piece with Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s “The Trip,” by way of “The Hangover” or “Bad Santa,” Scandanavian import “Klown” is another comedy that wrings most of its laughs from the premise that in the absence of a civilizing female presence males are apt to revert to despicable and idiotic behavior. A raunchy road movie and winner of the Best Comedy Film prize at last year’s Fantastic Fest, director Mikkel Norgaard’s is crisply acted and peppered with enough legitimately funny set-ups to win over the subtitle-averse, even if toward the end it seems to compromise the nature of some of its characters.
Danish comedians Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen star as exaggerated versions of themselves, Frank and Casper. Frank is a sadsack guy whose pregnant girlfriend Mia (Mia Lyhne) isn’t entirely sure he’s ready for fatherhood. To convince her, he takes his pudgy 12-year-old nephew Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen) along on a long-planned canoe trip with his caddish, sex-crazed best friend. Casper is apoplectic, the trip having been devised as a way to visit a mutual friend’s river-set brothel (“Pussy beats fatherhood!” he says repeatedly, gesticulating with his hands to make sure Frank understands the relative rankings), but gets brow-beaten by his wife Iben (Iben Hjejle, of “High Fidelity”) into yielding to Bo’s presence. Chaotic misadventures ensue, naturally.
Hvam has a face made for comedy of blinking humiliation, while Christensen — with his upswept shock of hair — resembles a slightly rough-around-the-edges Jason Sudeikis. And their jumbled, at-odds interplay is at the core of “Klown”‘s appeal. But the movie — which is interested in modern male-dom, and gets some good mileage out of its power-broker notion of “man-flirting” — also unfolds in a lowkey, semi-realistic fashion that only strengthens and reinforces the envelope-pushing qualities of its shock comedy. (Let’s just say that an incredibly awkward threesome and a penis smaller than Ken Jeong’s is involved.)
Late in the game, when Mia and Iben pop back up to enforce consequences upon the meandering, simpleton men in their lives, the movie stumbles a bit, seemingly uncertain of how to wrap things up gracefully. The resolution of the story strand with Bo comes off a bit forced. Still, much more so than “The Trip,” the briskly paced, engagingly impertinent “Klown” has a smart sense of when to cash in its chips — unlike its doltish characters.
NOTE: In addition to its theatrical engagements, “Klown” is also available via VOD, and here on ShockYa.
Written by: Brent Simon
Stream “Klown” now for $6.99 through the player below from Draft House Films and Distrify.