Put some severe-looking Danes in front of a jittery camera and it’s hard not to think of The Celebration or the last Lars von Trier movie you made yourself squirm through. The fact that Klown is Denmark’s answer to The Hangover—complete with a naughty photo montage to wrap things up—makes for a happy surprise, if not exactly a national U-turn. The comedy is dark in ways that Hollywood won’t ever touch: Within the context of a canoe trip undertaken by timid dad-to-be Frank (Frank Hvam), wayward Casper (Casper Christensen) and a sullen, unrelated 12-year-old boy named Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen), we observe savage micropenis mockery, onscreen anal fingering and a mother-in-law receiving a “pearl necklace” (not the one you’re thinking about, Mom).
For all its episodic, gleeful inappropriateness, the movie Klown most resembles—not that it tries to or anything—is Alexander Payne’s half-soused flight from maturity, Sideways. Casper, desperate to feel young, christens their getaway “Tour de Pussy” and even suffers a highly symbolic nose injury similar to the one that befalls Thomas Haden Church in Payne’s film. Yet director Mikkel Nørgaard and his beautifully uptight actors (particularly the furious girlfriends) are hardly interested in plumbing the sham of modern masculinity, clowns though these characters are. That makes for a lesser effort, certainly, but an entertaining one nonetheless, with a near-fantasy sense of randomness around every bend in the creek.
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