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Film & DVD

Klown

Buzz-heavy Danish shock comedy may be society’s handcart to hell, but at least it’s funny

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Klown
★★★★
(R)

Disgusting. Wretched. Loathsome. Scandalous. Depraved. Nearly criminal. Klown, based on a Danish sitcom of the same name, is certainly all of those things. It's also hilarious.

The film concerns the emotional growth of misfit manchild Frank (Frank Hvam) during the most important week of his life.

On the eve of an epic canoeing trip with his friend Casper (Casper Christensen) – who has covertly dubbed the outing the "Tour de P" (You might guess what the nefarious "P" stands for) – Frank is confronted with two harsh realities: His longtime girlfriend, Mia (Mia Lyhne), is pregnant, for one, and this is the week they are supposed to watch her nephew, Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen), while her sister is on her honeymoon.

Mia is not convinced that Frank will be a responsible father, especially after their house is robbed and Frank leaves Bo behind while Frank flees. So Frank does what any normal, healthy adult male does in these situations: kidnaps Bo, taking him on the canoeing trip in an effort to prove that he is indeed father material.

Have you figured out what the "P" stands for yet?

If there's a wrong move to make here, Frank and Casper will find it. The results are zany and disturbing, but in a way that an American filmmaker probably couldn't get away with: Much of the film sees Bo getting teased about his small willie, Casper's sexual preoccupation with high-schoolers on a field trip and Frank's half-hearted attempts at – well, why spoil the comedy?

The rest is hardly innovative. It could be described as Two and a Half Men with a set of balls and a sense of humor. But it doesn't need to be. Oddly enough, the film has a lot of heart. Frank is well-meaning, after all. His quest is to be a good dad, even if Casper's quest is to get laid in as many hedonistic ways as possible. Contrasted with Casper, Frank is awkward and tentative, and extremely odd. He's a failure through and through, but as played by Hvam he's at least a lovable loser. He's almost the Danish Charlie Brown, if Linus had a messy sex addiction and Rerun were dragged along for the ride.

Its crassness is supreme and often uncomfortable for the squeamish (or the self-righteous). If society has gone to hell in a handcart, this is the handcart, and it's paddling straight down the river Acheron, laugh after devious laugh.

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