Thursday, September 27, 2012

DVD Review: Klown

Directed by: Mikkel Nørgaard.
Written by: Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam and Mikkel Nørgaard.
Starring: Frank Hvam (Frank), Casper Christensen (Casper), Marcuz Jess Petersen (Bo), Mia Lyhne (Mia), Iben Hjejle (Iben), Lars Hjortshøj (Hjortshøj), Tina Bilsbo (Tina Bilsbo), Mads Lisby (Mads), Anne Moen (Kathrine), Niels Weyde (Ole), Elsebeth Steentoft (Pykker), Roger Kormind (Fætter Andreas), Michael Carøe (Carøe), Dya Josefine Hauch (Susan), Marie Mondrup (Ronja), Claus Damgaard (Skolelærer), Bent Fabricius-Bjerre (Bent Fabric), Jørgen Leth (Jørgen Leth).

The Danish film, Klown, is the type of comedy for those who think that the gross out comedies made by Hollywood don’t go nearly far enough. The movie fits comfortably into the wave of comedies Hollywood has produced in recent years about overgrown man children – but at this one doesn’t perpetuate the myth that its characters will change or grow with the help of a good woman. The two men at the center of the movie are selfish assholes at the beginning and selfish assholes at the end, no matter how patient and loving their significant others are. The movie gleefully ignores other standards of decency that most Hollywood comedies adhere to – sometimes with hilarious results but more often than not, I sat there stone faced, not finding a running gag about an old lady blinded by semen particularly funny. And there are a few moments that cross the line altogether and simply felt downright creepy. There is a reason why some lines aren’t crossed.

The movie is based on a popular Danish TV show (making me wonder what the hell else is on TV in Denmark) and was co-written by its two stars. Frank Hvam plays Frank, a balding, middle aged man who fears he is losing his girlfriend because she is pregnant, but doesn’t consider him to have “father potential”. In order to get back in her good books – which will take some doing because it was his semen that blinded that old lady, who happened to be his girlfriend’s mother – he decides to take her nephew Bo with him a canoe trip with his best friend Casper (Casper Christensen). This upsets Casper because they weren’t really going on a family friendly canoe trip – they are only going in a canoe at all because it’s the one thing his wife wouldn’t want to tag along on – and he has dubbed the trip the “Tour de Pussy”. Casper, it seems, will fuck anything that moves, and during the course of the movie he’ll put the moves on some high school girls, have sex with a lonely housewife (with the help of one of Frank’s fingers), go to a high priced brothel, and even be caught in a compromising position with those high school girls chaperone. Frank tries really hard to make all this somehow appropriate for Bo, but he’s so incompetent that he never really had a chance.

I have to admit that part of me admires Klown, and its writer/stars and director, Mikkel Norgaard for their willingness to push the material as far as they do. There seems to be absolutely nothing they will not do to try and get a laugh as they gleefully bust every taboo they can think of, and push the movie to its breaking point. The movie is so far past good taste they cannot even see it in the rearview mirror, and that’s the way they like it. I don’t have a problem with pushing the boundaries of comedy, but the cardinal rule when you do is simple – if it’s likely to offend someone, it damn well better be funny. And therein lies the problem with Klown – I didn’t laugh all that much. Sure, the movie gave me a few laughs, but certainly not enough to sustain the movies rather slim running time. And then there is the final shots in the movie, that go well beyond “pushing the boundaries” or being daring, into an area that is just plain creepy and, lord knows I don’t want to be a censor but, wrong. There are some things that are just never funny.

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