Klown: Film Review

Story of a man's ill-concieved attempt to prove his merit as a father benefits from Frank Hvam's dry comic performance

Raunchy Danish import is set for a Warner Bros. remake starring Danny McBride.

A cringe-comedy from Denmark that tacitly argues that anyone with viable semen should be allowed to raise children, Mikkel Nørgaard's Klown won't be the year's family-values favorite but may well bring some unfamiliar faces into arthouses. It's tailor-made for a Danny McBride redo that will likely make the hero less hapless and more hateful; comedy connoisseurs will want to check out the original before Warner Bros. and producer Todd Phillips take a crack at it.

Frank Hvam plays Frank, a thick-witted fellow eager to join buddy Casper (Casper Christensen) on a "canoe trip" that's really just pretext for a weekend of high-end whoring. Two pre-trip events, though, kill the buzz: He learns that his girlfriend is pregnant, and (thanks to events best left undescribed) he gives said girlfriend good reason to doubt his ability to care for a child. So he kidnaps a kid they're babysitting, 12 year-old Bo, in hopes that showing the boy a good time in the great outdoors will restore his girlfriend's faith in him.

The premise, and the hijinks that follow, are about as outrageous as anything in today's crop of raunchy comedies. But Nørgaard offers them with a much drier wit than Hollywood typically delivers, a tone well suited to his two leads (who created and starred in the TV series that led to this film). The pair enjoy an easy chemistry, with Hvam playing the dorky straight man to Christensen's slick hedonist -- the more the former tries to give pudgy Bo a wholesome nature trip, the harder the latter works to make his delusional "Tour de Pussy" dreams come true.

The film's explicitness has been overplayed a bit in early buzz, but viewers will witness one sex act rarely seen in mainstream cinemas and, whether they want to or not, will briefly see what it's like for a pre-teen boy to jump on the full-frontal-comedy bandwagon. Cue the laughs that fall somewhere between amusement and "here's hoping this scene ends quickly."

Production Company: Zentropa Productions
Cast: Frank Hvam, Casper Christensen, Marcuz Jess Peterson, Mia Lyhne, Iben Hjejle, Lars Hjortshøj, Ben Fabricius-Bjerre, Jørgen Leth, Mads Brugger
Director: Mikkel Nørgaard
Screenwriters: Frank Hvam, Casper Christensen
Producer: Louise Vesth
Director of photography: Jacob Banke Olesen
Production designer: Rasmus Thjellesen
Music: Kristen Eidnes Andersen
Editors: Morten Egholm, Martin Schade
R, 87 minutes.