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Film Review: Klown Forever

Drafthouse Films describes their newest release, Klown Forever “as though Lars von Trier were directing an especially mortifying episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.” While it may not be quite that bleak, the rest of that description is pretty much right on the money. The film—a continuation of Danish TV comedy series Klown and a 2010 spinoff film of the same name—is filled with bad judgment, appalling behavior and anxiety-inducing comedy that alternately makes you want to laugh hysterically, or cover your eyes. It’s a painful movie, at times shockingly inappropriate. It’s also very, very funny.

Klown Forever reunites viewers with writers and stars Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam, five years after their exploits in the first Klown film. Frank is married, with one young daughter and a newborn son. Casper, his best friend, is still a hard-partying king of impropriety (in one early scene he’s caught bedding the family nanny at a christening party). The growing rift between the two men threatens to destroy their friendship when Casper unexpectedly moves to L.A., and a lonely Frank visits, hoping to convince his friend to return to Denmark. Misadventures, dick jokes and celebrity cameos ensue.

Both Casper and Frank exhibit different, but equally ridiculous, forms of arrested development. With his inflated ego and utter lack of responsibility, Casper actively seeks experiences where he can narrowly escape trouble, dumping the consequences on others. The bespectacled, weak-willed Frank makes an excellent straight man, as a new father who knows he should change his behavior, but can’t quite do it. He still isn’t ready (and may never be ready) to give up his best friend’s influence on his life—even if that influence is about as wholesome as nuclear waste.

But even through the ill-advised hookups, immaturity and foul humor, there’s still a poignancy about Klown Forever and Casper and Frank’s connection that rings true. One of the film’s running bits is that the pair are co-authoring on a book on friendship, but neither man bothers to read the other’s contribution until they’re living on different continents. Klown Forever is about that feeling—the feeling of growing apart from a close friend, and finally realizing the importance of that relationship just as it’s about to dissolve.

Make no mistake, Casper and Frank are not good people, and their lack of tact or taste—as well as their inability to keep it in their pants—is where Klown Forever derives all of its humor. But, for all their nastiness, there’s a sort of sweetness to the men’s relationship that redeems them. After all they’ve been through, and after all they’ve done with and to each other, each man is the only possible best friend the other could ever have. In their own relationship crossroads, Casper and Frank take the path we always knew they would, and that’s a great thing—even if their sticking together poses a massive hazard to everyone else around them.