Film Review: Klown Forever

The sequel to the Danish comedy duo’s breakout hit fails to find the same degree of laughs.
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Danish comedians Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam were already household names in Denmark thanks to six seasons of their sitcom “Klown,” when they made their 2010 feature film of the same name. The raunchy comedy grossed $12 million in their native country—for comparison, that’s the same amount Peter Jackon’s Hobbit movies made when released in Denmark—so it makes sense that their fans might want to see more of their raunchier humor in a second movie.

As before, the comedians play versions of themselves, their success as TV and movie stars leading to a book deal about friendship, just as their own friendship is falling apart. Everyone has that friend who is constantly getting them into trouble, and for Frank—who is trying to lead a more domesticated lifestyle with his wife—Casper’s constant partying tends to interfere with that goal. When Casper decides to move to Los Angeles, Frank’s wife Mia—who never liked Casper in the first place—urges Frank to find a new best friend, so they can focus on their marriage and their new child. Instead, Frank goes to L.A. himself and, as expected, Casper gets him into even more trouble.

Scandinavian comedy is a special breed of humor that doesn’t always translate well into English, but to their credit, Christensen and Hvam play upon the type of raunchy and irreverent humor Sacha Baron Cohen has used so successfully in movies like Borat. Having the duo interacting with unwitting Americans certainly adds to that comparison, but this is a far more scripted affair, which might be what ultimately hurts it.

There may not have been nearly as much thought put into the plot for the sequel other than having the duo go to America, which ends up being less than half the movie. The Los Angeles setting allows them to include unlikely cameos by the likes of singer Adam Levine and actress (and Sacha Baron Cohen’s wife) Isla Fisher, but they bring little to the story other than being someone more recognizable to American audiences. (“Game of Thrones” star and fellow Dane Nikolaj Coster-Waldau appears briefly for an even more pointless cameo.)

Once Frank arrives in L.A., he and Casper meet two African-American women and go back to their place in South Central to party with them—Frank being quite bashful about doing anything that might get him in trouble with his wife. It leads to one of the film’s grosser bits, which thankfully, doesn’t go much further.

That’s actually a good example of how the duo often takes things too far—showing you things that may be hard to un-see—and yet, when things could be taken further and get even bigger laughs, they end up pulling back. Granted, not all of their gags work or are as funny, but the film tends to lose momentum whenever they choose to tame the humor.

When Frank ends up having drunken sex with Casper’s grown-up daughter Cille and Casper suggests he gets to screw Frank’s wife as payback, you can only imagine how far they might take this based on earlier bits. Instead, they once again chicken out and switch to a far more mundane subplot involving a truck filled with boxes of the duo’s friendship book. From there, things just sort of fall apart, as it all begins to feel very staged, with far less of the natural humor the two normally deliver.

That doesn’t necessarily make Klown Forever better or worse than the original movie; it just basically feels like more of the same. If you like their kind of irreverent humor, then there’s more of that on display here, but it just doesn’t seem nearly as novel the second time around.

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