Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Man on Film: Klown

By my count, I've got a backlog of 14 entries that I have to get to, and that is not counting any Prick Tunes entries. I've been a busy boy and honestly have been a bit overwhelmed lately. I hope to put that in the past, as I'm coming down the home-stretch on a creative project that I hope to complete later today. I also intend to have the last of the Wordy Old Men on Downton Abbey pieces up on its scheduled Wednesday slot. In the meantime, here is the first of more than three weeks of material that I've got in store for y'all. 

For those not aware, Klown is the feature-length filmic continuation of a six-season sitcom of the roughly same name, Klovn. Klovn (the 'v' spelling will be used for differentiating between the series and the movie, which will be spelled with the 'w') is, at the cost of being reductive to what may be a fault, the Danish Curb Your Enthusiasm. The concept is a show inspired by real situations, following two comedians, Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen, playing versions of themselves and featuring their friends, celebrities and otherwise. The score is also shockingly similar to that of the Larry David brainchild. That isn't to say that the show is or isn't good on its own merits--I haven't seen enough of it to evaluate it--but more to give you a frame of reference.

The easiest way to describe watching Klown would be to use the following analogy: Seeing Klown (for 95% of us) is like seeing Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day without having seen the series; it would be funny, you might feel the urge to seek out the series, but much of the character-driven humor would not carry the same punch it would if you had seen the film. The primary difference, of course, is that in the TPB analogy we're talking about a Canadian export; Klown is Danish, and the Danes are much more fucked up than our mild-mannered Neighbors to the North. Klown is accordingly more self-destructive, more politically incorrect foul, more drug-fueled, more sexualized, and more extreme while maintaining roughly the same pace. After all, what good is all of the social awkwardness without ample time given to squirm?

Given the other films that Drafthouse Films has distributed domestically (Four Lions, Bullhead, The FP), one can probably imagine roughly what this film would be like. Both Four Lions and Bullhead were not films with the typical viewpoint filmgoers are used to seeing. Klown is no different. It surely is not everybody's cup of tea, but I laughed heartily often and wasn't put-off completely by its indebtedness to one of my favorite shows ever, Curb Your Enthusiasm. Director Mikkel Nørgaard and writers/stars Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam certainly did enough with Klown that it made me want to go back and check out the series, and it certainly made me wonder what happened to Iben Hjejle's stateside film career.

(This trailer is extremely NSFW, by the way.)

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