A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Klown is an extremely vulgar Danish comedy (with English subtitles). Based on a TV series, it's a combination of the type of awkward comedy made famous by The Office, etc. and the "man child" humor typified by grown men acting very immaturely. There's almost constant swearing (subtitled words include "f--k," "s--t," and many more) and arguing, with a couple of bouts of violence and a bloody nose. Strong sexual content includes full-frontal nudity, main characters having multiple sex partners, and tons of sexual innuendo. Characters also drink almost constantly and smoke pot in one major scene. It may prove a cult hit for certain viewers, but it's definitely not for kids or teens.
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What's the story?
At a wedding, dopey, clueless Frank (Frank Hvam) learns that his girlfriend is pregnant -- and that she's thinking of getting an abortion because she's not sure about his fathering skills. On his way to an annual canoe trip with his buddy, Casper (Casper Christensen), Frank decides to "kidnap" 12-year-old Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen) -- his nephew, whom he's already charged with babysitting -- to prove that he can take care of him. Unfortunately, this canoe is headed on a journey of debauchery, drinking, drugs, and sex, and Frank makes all the wrong decisions. Will Frank ever find his inner dad?
Is it any good?
Each and every situation here seems designed to make viewers squirm -- and, as a side effect, laugh out of shock and discomfort. The movie's documentary-like approach, with hand-held cameras and fly-on-the-wall zooms, has become all too familiar and doesn't help much with the movie's shock factor. And though Klown might have benefited from building a little sweetness, it sabotages itself by leaving off on a sour note.
"You're the biggest moron I know," says Casper to Frank, and he may be right. This kind of "comedy of discomfort" may appeal to some viewers, but it takes a while for many people to develop goodwill for intentionally idiotic characters, and KLOWN simply isn't long enough for that. (Europeans may have an advantage over Americans in that regard, having had access to several seasons of the Klown TV series before this movie was produced).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Klown's strong sexual content. Which parts are meant mostly for shock value?
Are the characters admirable in any way? Are they intended to be? Does Frank learn to become a better father after his adventure?
How does the movie's dynamic change by introducing a 12-year-old boy into the story?
- In theaters: July 27, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: September 25, 2012
- Cast: Casper Christensen, Frank Hvam, Marcuz Jess Petersen
- Director: Mikkel Norgaard
- Studio: Drafthouse Films
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some drug use
For kids who love comedy
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