‘Klown Forever’ Just Might Be Too Much ‘Klown’


Five years ago, the Danish comedy Klown
upped the ante on the middle-aged dudebro comedy in a way that suggested genuine danger, pushing boundaries that Todd Phillips or Judd Apatow would never dare. It had real stakes: Reckless womanizer Casper (Casper Christensen) and easily peer-pressured family-man-to-be Frank (Frank Hvam) had a twelve-year-old boy in tow, and their sexual and illegal misdeeds could have easily had serious consequences for him any moment.

The sequel tries to go bigger, setting its second act in Los Angeles, which allows for cameos by Isla Fisher and Adam Levine but also feels a lot less novel to an American viewer’s eyes. Gone, also, is the jeopardy, at least for the first two-thirds of the movie — Frank travels to L.A. to lure Casper back to Denmark so they can jointly release a book based on their previous escapades, but it never seems like a big deal if that doesn’t happen.

So long as they’re only stupidly endangering themselves along the way, it’s easy to watch this with a sort of libertarian detachment. It’s also annoyingly predictable this time around, though the leads at first maintain their strong chemistry and essential likability. That changes toward the climax, in which they essentially plot a rape — there’s awkward uncomfortable, and then there’s the wrong kind of uncomfortable.

Christensen and Hvam, who wrote the script and play versions of themselves (they’re comedians in real life), try to walk things back from that empathy-killing abyss, but combined with the way this movie treats women generally (shrieking annoyances and/or sex objects), it leaves a bad taste — and isn’t novel enough to recommend sampling.

Klown Forever

Directed by Mikkel Nørgaard

Drafthouse Films Opens

September 2, IFC Center