J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Klown: Danes Behaving Badly

At last, the Dogme Hangover is here, via Denmark, where they prefer their humor raw and black.  Even if you wanted to, you are not likely to see a raunchier film in an art-house theater this year than Mikkel Nørgaard’s good taste defying Klown (totally nsfw trailer here), which opens this Friday in New York.

The feature film follow-up to the successful Danish television show (just like Sex and the City, in this one limited respect), Klown picks up with comedians Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen, playing crude, self-absorbed versions of themselves.  The lads are about to embark on a canoe trip that Christensen envisions as a smorgasbord of cheap illicit sex, but Hvam has other issues on his mind. 

After doing something unspeakably heinous (think the “styling mousse” scene in Something About Mary raised to the power of ten), Hvam’s pregnant girlfriend starts questioning his potential as a father.   Naturally, he responds by kidnapping her socially awkward twelve year-old nephew Bo to burnish his paternal cred on their tour of debauchery.  (Actually, Christensen uses a more colorful word than “debauchery,” which you can probably guess.)

Looking like a taller, slightly less pear-shaped Drew Carey, Hvam is basically a decidedly blue Costello, while the wiry Christensen is a real horndog of an Abbott.  While they have a good bantering rhythm, the fundamental essence of their humor is their willingness to go “there,” as in you can’t believe they just went there.  Based on the movie version of Klown, it seems like no joke is too naughty for them, but consistency can be an issue.

By the way, Klown is absolutely not for children.  The fact that a minor like Marcuz Jess Petersen appears as Bo might be grounds for prosecution in a few jurisdictions, especially given the questionable taste of some of his scenes.  Good luck at to him at school now that this is out there.  Yet, it is Christensen and particularly Hvam who always suffer the worst humiliations.

In a bizarre, tripped-out way, Klown could be interpreted as a pro-life movie, because Hvam goes to ridiculous lengths to convince his girlfriend not to abort their unborn baby.  Nonetheless, it is impossible to imagine the Church endorsing it any time soon, or GLAAD for that matter.  While it is a bit slow out of the blocks and Nørgaard’s approach lacks breakneck energy, there are some genuinely huge laughs to be found down the stretch.  Bracing in its tasteless outrageousness, Klown is recommended for those who rather enjoy being shocked and are weary of the phony uplift of Will Farrell-Judd Apatow Hollywood vehicles.  Have no fear of that when Klown opens this Friday (7/27) in New York at the Village East.

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