I’m not sure whether it’s the cold or the enthusiastic participation in the consumption of hard liquor, but the Northern and Eastern Europeans have a very odd sense of humour. I remember watching a popular Russian family comedy franchise about a bunch of drunks who kept getting drunk and into bother, and wondering: “What on earth?” Scandinavian comedy in particular often mixes depravity and slapstick, leaving me slightly bewildered and more than a little confused.
Klown is the big screen incarnation of a popular TV comedy of the same name. It stars two of Denmark’s most popular faces. Frank (Hvam) and Casper (Christensen) are two very different characters. Frank is an awkward loser, seemingly doomed to calamity and incompetence. Casper is his outgoing friend, who has an eye for the ladies and brims with self confidence.
Casper devises a canoe trip in order for the pair can enjoy a “Tour de Pussy”. There’s only one problem. In a desperate bid to show his girlfriend that he’s father material, Frank has kidnapped her 12 year old son Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen) and brought him along for the paddle. What follows lurches from one disaster to the next as the duo terrorise a campsite of young girls, pay for pancakes the old fashioned way, and cause havoc at a drug-fuelled music festival.
Klown is a cross between The Hangover and American Pie, without the redeeming features they both possessed. Frank and Casper are both simply put completely unsympathetic characters, so it’s difficult to invest any energy in caring about what happens to them. It’s puerile, it’s crass and it’s more than a little depressing. The leads co-wrote the screenplay and it plays out like the uneducated fantasies of two teenage boys. Don’t get me wrong, there are genuine laughs here, but they are drowned in unconvincing slapstick and a tendency to either stop before they’ve begun or take things way too far.
I’m sure if you love this kind of film then they’ll be plenty of entertainment for you, but it left me feeling faintly depressed. Todd Phillips is apparently working on an American remake, so if offensive humour (who doesn’t like a rape joke, eh?), slapstick comedy and Bromance is your bag, check it out before it gets the Hollywood treatment.
Klown is released on DVD by Arrow Films on 31st March and is available from Amazon.