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by Jay Seaver

"Hvam & Christensen know their comedy and aren't just klovning around."
5 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2011 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: After seeing "Klovn: The Movie", I find myself both curious about and wary of the TV series it's spun off from. Curious because the movie is damn funny, and if its style of humor is typical of the series, they can get away with some stuff on Danish TV (or it's running on the Danish equivalent of HBO). Wary because I don't know if this sort of crudity would work on a regular basis, and this is potentially a generic sitcom if toned down.

Klovn centers around the adventures of Frank Hvam (Frank Hvam), a decent-enough-seeming fellow with a remarkable ability to screw things up. Somehow, though, he's managed to stumble into a good woman in Mia (Mia Lyhne), but gets a couple pieces of unexpected news at the wedding of Mia's sister: They're going to be watching Mia's nephew Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen) during the honeymoon, and Mia is herself expecting. Initially, this interferes with Frank's plans to go on a canoeing trip with his friend Casper (Casper Christensen), but he decides to take the boy along to show he has potential as a father. Maybe not the best idea, as Casper is a hedonist who has taken to calling this trip the "tour de pussy".

And, yes, "tour de pussy" is generally indicative of the level of good taste to be found in the movie. Casper, in particular, doesn't seem to believe in restraint of any sort, and the various sex and drug jokes are amplified just by having a chubby 12-year-old hanging around. Similarly, it's generally not enough for Frank to get into strange predicaments; he's got to wind up in his underwear somehow. It's pretty close to a non-stop stream of crude jokes about middle-aged man-children.

That's not terribly hard to do in and of itself, but what's kind of impressive is how successfully director Mikkel Nørgaard and his cast are often able to underplay this material. A nasty joke is almost never followed by someone saying "ugh, that's gross"; more often than not Frank will give a confused shrug and continue on. Similarly, there's also no particular voice of moderation to say "hey, you're pushing forty; hitting on those high school girls is kind of gross" most of the time. It's a weirdly amoral world that the characters live in, honestly. It gives the movie a sort of unreality that blunts how nasty some of the jokes are when viewed objectively and lets the movie do a sort of slow build while still making outrageous jokes.

The cast is also, at the very least, well-practiced; Klovn ran for sixty episodes between 2005 and 2009, with Hvam and Christensen working together frequently before that, and the way character and performer names correspond at least strongly hints that these are well-honed personae that correspond to how audiences know these comedians in general. So Casper Christensen has being a blustery jackass down to a science, while Hvam does a fantastic bemused look, and has a truly impressive capacity for calmly and reasonably seeming to miss the point and thus digging himself into progressively worse situations.

The film saves some of its best material for the end, which certainly sends the audience out of the theater laughing just as hard as they had been throughout the rest of the movie. "Klovn" is rude and tasteless, but done by people who know how to make that sort of material work, starting from an amusing place and getting funnier as it goes along.

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originally posted: 07/25/11 05:38:09
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2011 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the Fantasia International Film Festival 2011 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2011 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2011 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 47th Chicago International Film Festival For more in the 47th Chicago International Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Seattle International Film Festival For more in the 2012 Seattle International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/19/14 Capt. Slapnuts Starts deceptively slow & tame but soon blossoms into the Citizen Kane of dick-joke movies. 5 stars
9/19/13 Annie G Perhaps I'd like it better if I'd seen the show, but I found this film unenjoyable. 2 stars
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  27-Jul-2012 (R)
  DVD: 25-Sep-2012


  DVD: 25-Sep-2012

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