The sweethearts of Danish comedy Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen bring to the UK the DVD release of their rambunctious comedy, Klown. Frank, a stubborn forty-something cap wearing boon discovers his girlfriend is pregnant, a fact she has done her best to keep from him due to her doubts over his potential as a father. To prove himself a man of action and responsibility he makes the wise decision to jizz in her mothers eye and kidnap her nephew, Bo, forcing him to join he and his best friend Casper on a debauched canoeing trip. Absurd sexual encounters, pathetic attempts at masculinity, and complete disregard for responsibility plague their perpetually adolescent camping holiday as they romp through the picturesque rivers of Denmark leaving nothing but flecks of soiled dignity in their wake.
For the duration of the film, Casper is insatiably aroused, Frank is generally useless, and Bo is forever insecure. As we watch them clash over and over the film swells in absurdity, from the capsize rescue sex where Frank severely misplaces a finger, to the weed brained celebrity woodland of a Danish music festival, to the tuxedo driven one-day-a-year international spaff-fest of a sex party that Frank is too ugly to attend. The gags come thick, well formed, knowingly calculated and expertly executed.
As seasoned veterans of comedy both Frank and Casper’s performances throughout, are effortlessly amusing, they possess the tight onscreen chemistry that only emerges after years of collaboration. Aside from them, it is great to see a young male character that isn’t a grey archetype of what a young bit of human might be. Bo is an idiosyncratic human being, possessing the awkwardness and discomfort so familiar to anybody who has been that age; or any age really. The friendship he begins to develop with Frank is believable, as is his hurt when Frank inevitably destroys everything he has worked for with Bo, as well as the healthy mix of constant danger, shame and disappointment he endures without ever really knowing how to express his disapproval.
One of the finest achievements of the film made is its ability to stay true to itself in terms of its televisiual roots, whilst not getting lost in the murky no-mans-land that occupies the space between cinema and television. This is key to the films success as a comedy; instead of making the often fatal error – ahem The Inbetweeners cough cough – of trying to stretch the televised model to five times its length and in doing so missing more beats than a drummer with no limbs. Funny as it sounds, you could probably split Klown into actual episodes and it would still work, and that is testament to the skillful writing throughout.
I’m not sure if pleasant is a word that could be used to describe the kind of surprise this film is, but I’m the kind of skinbag who enjoys a film that leaves you with some dirt beneath your nails. Incidentally, talking of filth, the surprise finale was a genuine shock…oh no they di-ent! You should probably stop reading this now and watch the film instead. Go on, do it.
Klown is released on DVD & Blu Ray on 31st March
Words>Denzil Hugh Dean