Stars: Frank Hvam, Casper Christensen, Marcuz Jess Petersen, Mia Lyhne, Iben Hjejle | Written by Casper Christensen, Frank Hvam | Directed by Mikkel Nørgaard
Imagine taking Curb Your Enthusiasm and mixing it with the gross out comedy of a movie like The Hangover. To some people this may sound like the worst thing ever, especially the thought of taking Larry David’s work and mixing it with a movie like that, how could they? The answer to this question is a movie called Klown, which in turn is based on a television show from Denmark. While not many people in the UK will have seen the television show, the film is an eye opener to something they just might like.
When Frank (Frank Hvam) finds out his girlfriend is pregnant she lets him know she is not sure that he can actually be a good father. To prove to her that he can, he ‘kidnaps’ her nepher Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen) and takes him on a canoeing trip with his friend Casper (Casper Christensen). With Casper’s plan to turn it into a debauched weekend of drugs and sex though, is it really the best way for Frank to show his skills as an adult and father?
Having watched Bad Grandpa it does come as some surprise just how a film like Klown can make that movie look tame. In many ways you would think adding a child to the trip Frank and Casper take they would tone things down slightly, but in truth they cleverly create a story where yes, he is around but never when things get truly too risqué for his character. Frank though is a different matter, this character is one of the most awkward you’ll see put to the screen and his foolishly stupid nature does make him quite endearing but he has a lot of growing up to do. This is of course the very nature of the story, he pushes himself to grow up so that he can show that he can be the father he wants to be.
The fact is though Frank is written in a way to push him into situations that show he is in fact very immature, and of course Casper uses Frank’s stupidity to use his friend to get away with many of his endeavours to get laid. Not to say that Casper is saved from some of the most extreme mess ups, and often becomes the funnier character. What makes the comedy work many times is the chemistry of Frank and Casper, as well as the growing friendship with Bo. The problem with the Bo storyline for me though is the fact the comedy is often quite cruel to him and is at his expense. Frank may want to show that he can handle being a father figure to somebody like Bo, but often shows a meanness towards Bo that is often uncomfortable.
Frank is a character that does find a level of redemption after his actions but there are moments where you really hate the fact that he is so stupid and mean-spirited. In many ways the saving grace of Klown is that Bo is the “reality” of Frank and Casper’s little escape from reality and if anything gives both of the men the wakeup call that they need. With comedy that may touch on many people’s boundaries what makes Klown fun is that it is not afraid to push at these limits in the name of comedy and is has a feeling of being out of control, which many Hollywood comedies lack. In the end you do end up liking the characters of Frank and Casper, even after their mean actions and if anything leave the film wanting to see more of their antics, which of course we can see in the form of the television show…
Klown is out now on DVD courtesy of Arrow Films.