It can seem sometimes that Hollywood has a monopoly on stupid, obnoxious comedy. Anyone who sees “Klown” will learn otherwise. Comedy can be just as stupid and obnoxious in Danish. Nor is Judd Apatow the only filmmaker mildly obsessed with male genitalia.
Frank (Frank Hvam) and Mia (Mia Lyhne), his longtime girlfriend, are at a wedding when her gynecologist congratulates him on her pregnancy. This is news to Frank. Mia didn’t want him to know yet, she explains, because “I worry you don’t have enough potential as a father” (shades of “Knocked Up,” speaking of Apatow). Her doubts deeply offend Frank, a 30-ish dweeb, in large part because they are so clearly justified.
How justified becomes plain when Frank dragoons Mia’s 12-year-old nephew, Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen), into joining him and his lecherous friend Casper (Casper Christensen) on a long-planned canoeing trip. What follows is wildly implausible, often very crude, and sometimes borderline offensive. Bo isn’t so much a plot device as a prop. Frank and Casper treat him as if he were a Labrador retriever who hasn’t been housebroken (yes, there are peeing jokes, too).
“Klown,” in other words, is as dumb as any Adam Sandler movie. It’s also raunchier than the “Hangover” pictures. But it wants to pass itself off as far hipper than anything so commercial. The main adult characters have the same names as the actors who play them. Very meta, no? “Klown” has the faux-verite look of “The Office,” with jittery hand-held camera, lots of zooms (lots of zooms), and distracted editing.
And, of course, it has subtitles. The subtitles aren’t just a sign of cultural superiority. They’re also an indicator of the movie’s integrity. All the filmmakers had to do would have been to ditch the subtitles, dub “Klown,” and call it “National Lampoon’s Danish Vacation.” The international box office would have gone through the roof, and they would already be casting the sequel.