Friday, July 13, 2012

KLOWN (2010)

A nature trip can be a great way to get in touch with your manhood and bond with your best pal. Not only that, but you might also get in touch with nature, learn survival techniques, and maybe somehow build a super S’more with three marshmallows, thereby defying physics via graham crackers. Enter Frank the schlub, who aims to unschlub himself a bit, and his buddy Casper, who hopes to use a canoe trip as a cover to lay pipe all across Denmark. So, maybe these best buddies aren’t very interested in getting in touch with nature, but it makes a great cover to sell to their wives. Uh oh. 

Oh snap, wait. Frank forgot that he agreed to babysit a pudgy 12-year-old boy named Bo. Oh well, no problem. He’ll just bring him along on the trip. Casper is none too happy about this, but Frank promises not to let a child get in the way of his ability to plow fields. The trip also provides a hidden opportunity for Frank. You see, Frank’s wife Mia is pregnant, but she doesn’t want to have the kid because she thinks Frank isn’t very mature and won’t make a good father. Therefore, Frank hopes to show Mia that he can be a good father by taking care of Bo for a weekend. Spending a weekend getting drunk, visiting a brothel, and watching your 40-year-old friend attempt to schnook anything with a pulse would hardly seem to be the proper avenue to show off how mature you are, but comedy is often about flawed people trying to better themselves in flawed ways. 

Sure enough, Casper immediately starts hitting on a group of high school girls who are also on a camping trip. Dude barely waits for them to get off the bus. Now, I can understand macking on high school girls under the pretense that high school girls can sometimes appear older than they actually are. However, when you actually see them walk off a big yellow bus, you probably shouldn’t be hooting and hollering and pointing to your crotch. Hey Casanova, covertly take a sneak peak and move on with your day. 

Frank is probably just as immature as Casper, but in a different way. He does try to parent Bo by standing up to some kids who bully him, but it backfires a bit when he pulls the pants down of one of the boys, and the boy’s father goes after Frank in retaliation. As a 40-year-old boy himself, this is the most fitting tactic he could come up with. You fight wars with whatever weapons you feel comfortable with. He also tries to instill confidence in Bo by explaining to him that part of the reason his penis looks so small is because he is a fatty, and a penis looks smaller against a backdrop of blubber. Perhaps there is a more productive and less awkward way to instill confidence in a child, but at least Frank’s heart is in the right place.

So, two immature adults take a kid on a canoe trip and misadventures, shenanigans, debauchery, and ribald sexual tomfoolery occur. If this sounds like the setup for a typical Hollywood bad taste coming of age comedy, like Adam Sandler’s last piece of shit (whatever that was called), it sorta is but mostly isn’t. Klown goes both more over the top while being more humanistic by never straying from its (very) flawed characters. In fact, if I described some of the stuff that happens in the movie, I might get reported to the FBI. Yet, these moments seem to flow naturally from the characters, which says a lot about the characters. It just goes to show that you can get away with a lot of crazy shit if you anchor your movie in human behavior, instead of forcing in gross out gags at the expense of the characters and the story. 

Maybe Klown is better described as a Dogme version of a sexually deviant Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. Either way, it’s very often laugh out loud funny. If you thought wayward cumshots, awkward anal sex, and the attempt to lure underage girls with the promise of Hannah Montana songs couldn’t be funny, Klown would seem to argue otherwise. But then again, maybe I’m just an irredeemable creep laughing at other irredeemable creeps. Sounds like a great evening in to me, but your mileage may vary. 

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