Humor in foreign movies often doesn’t translate well, with subtitles draining the nuance out of jokes that no doubt originally killed. The 2010 Danish film Klown, however, figured out that the key to leaping over cultural borders was by being as hilariously disgusting as humanly possible, taking its Curb Your Enthusiasm framework to amazingly gross places.
The bigger scaled Klown Forever, unfortunately, can’t really match the original, with some notably slack pacing and celebrity cameos (Isla Fisher, Adam Levine) that don’t do much but distract. When it does connect, however, the gags that land are still breathtakingly awkward and irredeemably foul. But, you know, in a good way.
Reuniting the writing/performing team of Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen, the story finds the two former best buddies in danger of a permanent falling out. After Casper moves to a Los Angeles mansion, Frank temporarily ditches his wife and kids in an attempt to rekindle their friendship. An ill-advised visit to South Central, a burly dude named Battle Cat, and what might be the greatest reaction shot from a baby in cinematic history all follow.
Scattershot as this installment may be, the chemistry between the leads—which originated in a long-running TV series—is still a wonder to behold, featuring deadpan skewerings of egotism and chauvinism that cause as many gasps as belly laughs. (Bless Mia Lyhne, who, as Frank’s long-long-suffering wife, manages to take a little of the ick off of some of the cruelest jokes.)
As in the original, Klown Forever’s MVP is undoubtedly Hvam, whose thousand-yard-stare just keeps getting funnier with every indignity that he kinda willingly allows to be heaped upon him. The feelings generated by watching a naked man haplessly wrestle with a dream catcher are more or less universal.