The comedy of the idiot man-child has been a running theme in American movies of late, with an endless parade of films celebrating the joys of perpetual adolescence. The 2010 Danish hit KLOWN, new to DVD and Blu-ray this week, proves that the trend isn't a strictly American phenomenon, and there's plenty of room to riff on the theme.
Written by and starring Danish TV stars Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen, the film is based on a sitcom in which the actors play exaggerated versions of themselves. It's similar in approach to the very funny 2010 comedy The Trip, in which U.K. comics Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon also play slightly distorted versions of themselves.
Like The Trip, Klown is also a road movie. When Frank gets in trouble with his girlfriend, he kidnaps her 12-year-old nephew Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen ) in a misguided attempt to prove that he's father material. Frank brings Bo along on a canoeing trip with his pal, the dangerously horny Casper, who doesn't want to drag a kid along as he chases women and liquor.
The weekend holiday progresses and the poor decisions pile up. Our intrepid trio stumble their way through campgrounds, brothels, hospitals, prison and increasingly uncomfortable sex, drugs and pedophilia jokes.
The humor in Klown can be really and truly offensive, but it's all so clearly designed to provoke that it plays like a spectator sport. You get hooked on finding out just how far the movie is going to go. There's also an essential sweetness underneath that takes the edge off as Frank and Bo develop a bond among all the madness.
WARNING: Trailer NSFWDAE (Not Safe For Work in Denmark or Anywhere Else)
In any case, the movie is genuinely funny — one of the best comedies to come to home video this year — so long as you're willing to roll with its mix of awkward social scenarios and raunchy shock humor. The standard line about Klown is that it's Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm crossed with The Hangover. That's about right, actually.
Also New This Week:
If you're in the market for a gentler foreign-film evening, consider the modest French romantic dramedy Delicacy. Audrey Tautou, in somber-and-beautiful mode, plays a grieving widow who finds love with an unlikely co-worker. Delicacy is uncommonly mature and reflective about matters of the heart — it's a rom-com for grown-ups.
Already in the pantheon of great comic book movies, The Avengers hits home video this week in several retail incarnations, including the premium 4-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack — Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy and hours of extras. Be sure to watch the gag reel.
Greta Gerwig headlines Whit Stilman's utterly delightful Damsels in Distress, the director's latest investigation into the lifestyles of the rich and overeducated. Surrender to Whitman's mannered, stylized tone and you'll find one of the year's best comedies.
The lively indie documentary Bob Dylan and the Band: Down in the Flood chronicles one of music's greatest collaborations with rare archival footage and commentary from marquee critics Robert Christgau and Anthony DeCurtis.
For the discerning comedy nerd, the 22-DVD set The Carol Burnett Show: The Ultimate Collection gathers 50 episodes selected by the lady herself, along with 20 hours of bonus material. Highlights are also available in 6-DVD, 2-DVD and single DVD packages.
The Criterion Collection has reissued David Fincher's 1997 thriller The Game in a new Blu-ray package with alternate ending and assorted extras. Great script and great Michael Douglas performance — that movie still holds up.
Plus: Jessica Biel in the thriller The Tall Man, Norm McDonald in the family comedy Vampire Dog, crooked cops in the French actioner Sleepless Nights and at-large psychopaths in the compellingly titled Asylum Blackout.
TV-on-DVD: Season collections from American Horror Story, Desperate Housewives, Gossip Girl, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, the UK series Wallender and the always funny Portlandia.