Fantastic Fest 2011: KLOWN Review

Charlie Hobbs, Contributing Writer
The penis is nothing if not a vastly underutilized vessel for comedy. The makers of Klown: The Movie understand this, and have set about to rectify this problem.  The film jauntily breaks down the barriers of good taste and propriety all in the name of a laugh.  Is it successful?  Absolutely!  Klown is one of the funniest films I've seen in a long time.  The key is that the film is played absolutely straight, and it never stretches the bounds of credulity beyond their breaking point.  This slice of life comedy is crude, inappropriate, disgusting, and ridiculously funny.

Klown is the story of Frank and Casper.  Frank is a single man who has just discovered that his girlfriend is pregnant. Frank doesn't want kids, but he also doesn't want his girlfriend his to leave him, so he has to find a way to prove to her that he's Dad material, which she rightfully doubts.  Casper is an enthusiastic philanderer. Casper has planned a Tour de Pussy for the pair, disguised as a canoe trip in case the girls ask.  The plan is to travel to a mysterious and infamous brothel that opens only one night per year and flies in the best working girls from around the world.  Casper is psyched, Frank is along for the ride, and then something happens.

Frank is suddenly stranded with young Bo, a pudgy nine-year-old, on the day that the trip is to begin. While Casper is incensed and insists that he find a way to abandon Bo before they embark on the Tour de Pussy, Frank sees the opportunity to prove to his girlfriend that he is father material, and decides to bring Bo along. The two older men on their search for tail, and the boy, excited to go canoeing.  Frank moderates his expectations to be in line with a man in his situation, Casper does not. Hijinks ensue.

It would be unfair of me to reveal any further plot details of Klown.  The film plays in an episodic manner, with each episode revealing a little bit more of who these characters are, warts and all.  The genius of this film is in these characters, Frank and Casper, who have been refined on Danish television for years in a TV series of the same name.  Basically, both guys are assholes who make terrible decisions at every juncture. Casper is the alpha male asshole, Frank, the beta male, but no less of an asshole. Their combined poor decision-making is recipe enough for comedy, but when you add the fact that they have a young boy in their care the whole time, all hell breaks loose, and the bounds of good taste are breached frequently.

Casper's insatiable sexual appetite leads him into trouble on more than one occasion, and even when he thinks he's got it licked (no pun intended), it comes back to bite him more than once.  Frank's insecurity leads him into just as much trouble, if not more as time goes on.  Their relationship with Bo is a roller coaster that oscillates between fatherly and antagonistic, but even that is fodder for some great comedy.  When the need arises to atone for his misbehavior with Bo, Frank and Casper step up to the plate in an inspirational sequence involving drunken teenagers, a gun, and a prison sentence. The beauty of it is that it could all happen, if you were an asshole.

Clown is in unrepentantly poor taste and hysterical. Casper (Casper Christensen) and Frank (Frank Hvam) have honed these characters to a fine comic point. Every action in Klown has a stupidly funny and rational reaction. The team involved leaves no sacred cows untipped in the pursuit of laughs, and no penis unbared.  Consider yourself admonished.  Don't miss Klown.

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