You have to see Klown. You need to see Klown. The Danish import was the funniest movie I saw in 2011, and it is shaping up to be the funniest movie of 2012 too. I haven’t talked with a single person who saw it at Fantastic Fest last year that hasn’t agreed with me. And now, finally, Klown is coming to theaters in New York, Los Angeles, Austin, and VOD everywhere else, on July 27. I like to think that the kind of person who reads CHUD isn’t afraid of subtitles, but I also know I’m wrong. I know you’re lurking out there, and you probably already got a sinking feeling in your stomach when you saw that confusing ‘v’ in the poster above. I know you think subtitles are a chore (cause, hey, sometimes they can be). But if you only suck it up once this year, this is the moment for you. This isn’t some fruity arthouse flick or depressing message film — this is a balls-out riot.
Let’s jump in the ol’ time machine back to September 2011 to see what I had to say at Fantastic Fest:
FF Summary: Frank and Casper have a simple, multi-stage plan for the coming weekend. First, they shall engage in an activity guaranteed to keep their women at a safe distance. In this case that means canoeing. Second, under the guise of a camping adventure, they shall canoe not to a campground but to an exclusive one-night-a-year brothel. Truly it shall be a “Tour De Pussy.” With a plan as simple as this, what could go wrong?
Well, Frank could learn by accident that his girlfriend is pregnant, for one thing. And that she’s told all of their friends but not him, for another. And that the reason for her silence is that she’s concerned he’s not ‘fatherhood material’ and is therefore considering an abortion, in which case it will be simpler if Frank never knew anything at all. What does this have to do with the Tour De Pussy? Well, nothing, really. That’s still happening. Casper will tolerate no change in plans. It’s just that, in an effort to prove his girlfriend wrong Frank essentially kidnaps her eleven year old nephew and takes him along with them for a weekend of bonding.
Should You Be Excited: Very.
Thoughts: The reason Klown‘s title on that poster is Klovn: The Movie is because the film is based on a popular, long-running Danish TV series. Amazingly, I had no idea this was a pre-existing world while watching the film (I only learned this afterwards during the Q&A). Director Mikkel Nørgaard and writers/stars Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen do a superb job making the film stand-alone. The only aspect that seemed ‘off’ to me while watching Klown was that I had no idea how Frank and Casper knew each other or what they did for a living or why they hung out with famous Danes like The Perfect Human‘s Jørgen Leth — the answer is: they’re playing themselves, famous Danish stand-up comedians. Other than that, anyone can/should jump right into this film (it won the new ‘Gutbuster’ comedy award here at Fantastic Fest). Klown is fucking hilarious. Far and away the funniest movie I’ve seen this year. It’s a bit Vacation meets Curb Your Enthusiasm meets Bad Santa meets The Hangover (the film actually steals a rather famous bit from The Hangover; though uses it well). It is utterly shameless. It is just as lowbrow, crass and juvenile as The Hangover, sometimes more so (the film’s longest running gag involves the penis size of the little boy Frank is babysitting), but it balances these jokes out with an equal amount of subtle, awkward humor. And Hvam and Christensen are merciless on their characters, never allowing them to bask in good fortune or salvaged pride for very long before devastatingly kicking them down a peg. Yet, as remorselessly as the film wallows in its raunch and comedic cynicism, it manages to become heart-warming during the climax.
The only negative element to Klown is the air of an inevitable Vince Vaughn remake that hovers over the whole thing. Hopefully this will get some kind of chance in the States before that happens. [2012 note: Todd Phillips is developing a remake with Danny McBride.]
Moment to Savor: Small moment: when Casper jumps over his crouching maid instead of walking around her. It is a nonchalant half-second gag that immediately says so much about the character. Big moment: the scene where Casper and Frank are sharing a bed with a woman who has helped them after their canoe capsized. Casper and the woman start having sex, and are adamant that Frank join in. Frank isn’t interested and tries his best to sleep while the two go at it next to him. Things continue to build when the woman’s feelings are hurt that Frank won’t join in, and suddenly Frank seems like an asshole for staying faithful to his girlfriend. The compromise they come to will bust that gut of yours.