Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mikkel Nørgaard's & Casper Christensen's rude comedy KLOWN gets some big laughs

Of all the movie genres, comedy, it seems to TrustMovies, is the diciest. There was a woman sitting behind us at the press screening of KLOWN -- the new and naughty, men-behaving-badly comedy from Mikkel Nørgaard (director and co-writer) and Casper Christensen (co-writer and co-star) -- who laughed at just about every-thing in the movie. We three guys sitting in front of her laughed now and again, sometime quite heartily, but agreed, post-movie, that we wished it were funnier. And that it didn't have that typically crappy, feel-good and sentimental ending. For a film that appears to want to break new "taste" boundaries, this one ends up arriving at the tried-and-true.

Still there are those laughs, and when they come with as much of a jolt and a shock as happens now and again, you'll understand why the film proved a record-breaker on its home turf of Denmark. Director Nørgaard, shown at right, knows how to set up a situation and carry it through so that it finally pays off in spades. Or, in this case, pearls. Of a sort. The other problem that often crops up in a movie like this involves the stupidity/
insensitivity level of it hero. In this regard, the Klown character is simply off the charts. While this may indeed be the point, this character, Frank, played by Frank Hvam (shown below, right), may be the stupidest, most insensitive ever to appear in a comedy. That's saying something. The Three Stooges look like doctoral candidates by comparison.

After awhile, you wonder why his intelligent, reasonable wife would ever put up with him; how he could possibly hold down a job; and many other questions better left unexplored. His best buddy -- played by Mr. Christensen -- below, rowing -- though less stupid, is much more conniving. The two of them plan to having a sleazy, sexy vacation unbeknownst to their wives but at the last minute end up taking with them Frank's sad and backward 12-year-old nephew. Think of it as an X-rated Adventures in Babysitting.

How this takes place is no more believable than much else in this lazy movie, which is about as sloppily constructed as seemingly possible, making our two Hangover comedies look like Feydeau farces. The film gets its laughs, all right, but sometimes you need to let go of any and all sense of reality in order to feel that funny bone being tickled.

Perhaps a nodding acquaintance with the culture and institutions of Denmark would help matters. What in the world is that "book club" for old men (above) all about? And when our guys finally get to that fabled brothel, all that is provoked is a big, fat Huh? The lessons in man-flirting, however, probably do cross some international borders. While the pussy-whipped male is always fun to see in action, Klown, despite its occasional big laughs, is finally just so-so.

From Drafthouse Films, and running 90 minutes, Klown opens this Friday, July 27, in New York City at the Village East Cinema and in Los Angeles at The CineFamily.  Click here to see all currently scheduled playdate with cities and theaters, around the country. Simultaneously with theatrical play, the movie will be available via VOD and iTunes.

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