Klown, a naughty follow-up to Danish sitcom "Klovn," sees stars Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen behaving very badly on a canoeing trip alongside a thirteen-year-old boy. As in the series, the actors play fictionalized versions of themselves, and wade through uncomfortable situations and humor far more explicit than that of the oft-compared "Curb Your Enthusiasm." With the women away, the men do play on what Casper is determined will be a "Tour de Pussy." Klown is less afraid to offend than American comedies, and is a consistently funny, groan-inducing ruckus.
Frank's girlfriend Mia (Mia Lyhne) volunteers to babysit her newly wed brother's thirteen-year-old son, Bo (Marcuz Jess Peterson), while he and his wife take a honeymoon. Mia is also pregnant, and Frank handles the revelation poorly, prompting Mia to accuse him of lacking all fatherly instinct. Frank digs himself a deeper hole with Mia after an unfortunate interaction with his mother-in-law, and is forced to take Bo on the canoeing trip he has planned with Casper, who aims to end the trip at an estate party rife with international prostitutes. Neither man has any inclination for chaperoning a teenage boy, and the trio begins a trip sure to enrage Mia and Casper's partner, Iben (Iben Hjejle), if Bo reveals the details to either woman.
Casper is particularly enraged that Bo is tagging along on the trip, and doesn't censor himself in the least, talking like a drunken sailor in front of naïve Bo. To make matters worse, Bo is an immature, shy child who reveals few of his internal thoughts, prompting Frank to fear Bo will ruin his chances of reconciling with Mia. Klown puts the boys through the wringer during a series of hilarious mishaps. Frank displays a bit of paternal instinct when some bullies tease Bo for having a small "willie," only to show a picture of said willie to a group of travelers so they can have a laugh at Bo's expense. In a recurring gag, Casper flirts with men on the trip to get out of tight spots, which later backfires on him in full view of a smirking Frank.
The comedy in Klown is broad, and Director Mikkel Nørgaard never rushes the jokes. There are times when Klown appears to reveal a punch line far before it's delivered, only to swerve down another outrageous path with a better payoff. Several American reviews have compared Klown to The Hangover - the two share a gag on inappropriately revealed photos - but Klown's humor is less choreographed. The laughs range from wholesome to explicit: A bit about flicking someone's nose for being a twerp is as funny as Frank and Casper's liaison with a kinky country woman who takes them in after their canoe capsizes. This Danish comedy is also unafraid to expose Bo to some very adult activities, and Klown gets away with far more than an American comedy would.
Frank and Casper are more concerned with preservation than righting wrongs, though Frank realizes he might enjoy being a father after all. A climactic expedition to surprise Bo is about as sweet as Frank is going to get, and Klown ultimately reveals Bo is more astute than he first appears. Klown is a very funny movie that throws its young protagonist into the shark tank with two affable scoundrels.
The 1.85:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer looks very good. The image is clear and detailed - most of the film was shot with handheld cameras - and skin tones are accurate. Contrast is quite high due to the blinding outdoor light, but this never hinders the image's clarity. Black levels are good, and shadow detail is strong despite the digital source. There are no problems with aliasing, but some light edge enhancement pops up during the opening titles.
The Danish 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is typical comedy fare, with clear dialogue and some decent ambient effects. The surrounds come to life during outdoor canoeing scenes, and the subwoofer responds to the tunes of a rock concert. The film's English subtitles are burnt in, but a Danish 5.1 Dolby Digital track is also available.
PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:
Image packages Klown in a clear Blu-ray case with reversible artwork and a booklet with revealing photos and parody posters. An insert provides a code to download a digital copy of the film. There are quite a few nice extras, too:
- Commentary with Director Mikkel Nørgaard and Stars Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen - All three men speak English for this breezy commentary. Hvam and Christensen joke around a lot, and the trio shares some interesting tales from the set.
- "It's a Jungle Down There:" Episode of Klown Television Series Written by Lars Von Trier (25:01/SD) - This funny episode of the Danish series involves Mia and Iben attending a women's sex seminar.
- Klown From Behind: The Making of Klown (41:50/HD) - This piece includes lengthy interviews with the principal cast and director, as well as footage shot at one of the film's premieres.
- Inside "Castello Alleycat" (3:53/HD) - These are extra scenes from the brothel used during the film's climax.
- Crafting "The Willie" (2:25/HD) - The make-up crew had to make a fake penis for one of the film's big gags. Crazy stuff.
- Alternate Opening Sequence (1:38/HD) - This scene was cut for another with Frank and Mia's arriving at the wedding.
- Deleted Scenes (13:28/HD) - Eight deleted scenes are included, some of which are extensions to shots already in the film.
- Outtake Reel (6:52/HD) - The cast cracks up in this lengthy gag reel.
- Trailers - This section includes the Danish Teaser Trailer (1:28/HD); Danish Theatrical Trailer (3:43/HD); U.S. Theatrical Red Band Trailer (2:06/HD); and U.S. Theatrical Green Band Trailer (1:58/HD).
This follow-up to the Danish series of the same name is a hilariously distasteful road-trip comedy. Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen take a thirteen-year-old boy on a canoeing trip and show little parental restraint. Casper is set on visiting a famous brothel with international prostitutes, and Frank worries the trip will ruin his chances at raising a kid with his already annoyed girlfriend. This broad comedy is consistently funny, and proves less afraid to offend than stateside releases. Highly Recommended.
William lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and looks forward to a Friday-afternoon matinee.