Klown: Danes Take a Canoe Trip to the Whorehouse

Based on a TV series in Denmark (where broadcast standards are far different than here), Klown sends two 40-something bunglers on a weekend canoe trip to a brothel. Both have women back home, but that doesn't stop them from hitting on high-school girls, indulging in a desultory threesome, and threatening the welfare of an 11-year-old nephew they drag along. Canoes tip over, pot gets smoked, and everyone ends up at a rowdy, drunken music festival, yet Frank and Casper aren't complete morons. They're organized enough to pack tuxedoes for the brothel—an excursion arranged by their book club. (Again: Danish book clubs are far different than here.) The comic tone, which director Mikkel Nørgaard originated on the TV series with his two stars, is of queasy taboo-breaking, of pushing the duo just a little too far—then we watch to see if they can recover. And by extension: Can we recover our sympathy for them? And what of the ladies back home? Frank (Frank Hvam) is the meeker of the pair, with a pregnant girlfriend. Married Casper (Casper Christensen) is the cad who christens their trip "the Tour de Sex." The theme here is simply whether hapless Frank has "no potential as a father" (as his girlfriend frets), and whether he'll help pudgy nephew Bo learn to pee standing up or accidentally drown him. The canoe odyssey plays like a middle-aged Danish spin on American Pie. One raunchy debacle follows another, and a series of false endings—which suggest Klown's TV roots—doesn't help. Frank and Casper are a bit like the guys in Sideways, only without the pity and self-awareness.

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