When liability Frank (Frank Hvam) discovers his girlfriend Mia (Mia Lyhne) is carrying his child, he knows that he has one hell of a task on his hands to convince her that he is fit for parenthood. However when their house is broken into, and he offers little protection for her 12-year-old nephew Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen), who they’re looking after, Frank needs to do something really special to prove his worth as a father. So he makes a rash decision to take Bo along with him, on his debauched canoe trip with his eccentric, and sexually deviant friend Casper (Casper Christensen). On a trip they affectionately like to call, the ‘Tour de Pussy’.
Klown is evidently, and lovingly, influenced by Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Not necessarily from a content perspective, but in the stylistic, almost documentary like approach, with characters keeping their real names and a shaky camera adding a naturalistic element to a film otherwise devoid of any sense of realism. Similarities can be found in the musical interludes between takes too, while there is often that classic moment where Frank has done something terribly wrong, and the camera slowly surveys the room of astonished and disgusted people, before landing on his sorry face. Hvam is terrific in the role, somehow remaining empathetic despite his various wrongdoings. His physical demeanour helps in this regard, as the actor just has this defeated stance that instantly portrays him as an underdog. He looks a little bit like what you’d imagine the Milky Bar kid would be like now had he let the fame go to his head. Casper, on the other hand, is a vile, vulgar creation – and the pair form a hilariously farcical and calamitous double act.
Klown is not a film to be taken at face value however, because if you read too much into it, there’s a very strong chance you may leave feeling somewhat offended, as a film that pulls no punches, taking comedy to the very limit. It’s extremely crass and so, so wrong in many instances, but it’s allowed off the hook as it’s almost been set in this surrealistic universe where there are no severe implications on any of these horrific incidents our characters land themselves in. You know, there are only so many times a 12 year old’s undersized manhood can be discussed before you realise this just isn’t a film to take to heart. Some may leave with a bitter taste in their mouth, as the humour is somewhat untoward in places to say the least, but it does need to be appreciated that the Scandinavians have a very different, more open relationship with sex and they aren’t nearly as prudish as us Brits, and it’s this area where so many of the jokes derive from.
Ultimately, Klown is just a comedy, and an excruciatingly funny one at that, even if at times it does veer into somewhat uncomfortable territory. You make noises you’ve never heard yourself make before, and it’s unlikely there will be a film this year that can shock you quite in the way this one does, nor a film that will makes you laugh quite this much, and it’s riotous and unrelenting in that approach. The worst thing that could happen now, is that Hollywood will feel compelled into making a remake and get someone like Danny McBride on board. Oh, hang on a minute…