You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Clown the Movie

Creator and co-stars Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam deliver a top-flight adaptation of a TV comedy in nutty, ribald "Clown the Movie."

With: Frank Hvam, Casper Christensen, Marcuz Jess Petersen, Mia Lyhne, Iben Hjejle, Lars Hjortshoj, Tina Bilsbo, Mads Lisby, Anne Moen, Roger Kormind, Jorgen Leth.

Creator and co-stars Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam deliver a top-flight adaptation of a TV comedy in nutty, ribald “Clown the Movie,” which centers on mild-mannered Frank (Hvam) trying to prove his worth as a dad on a weekend romp that randy pal Casper (Christensen) wants to turn into a sex spree. The pic has earned more than $12 million at the B.O. in Scandinavian territories since December, which indicates a sequel is in order. Prospective North American buyers might have some cleaning up — or blurring out — to do.

Hanging the comedy on the character of an emasculated male attempting to find himself in a feminized world, director Mikkel Norgaard serves up an edgy brew that skewers just about everything Danish in sight, including the Dogma style of cinema, which comes off as increasingly passe.

In an opening sequence that both pays homage to and ridicules “The Celebration,” Frank is embarrassed to learn from others that g.f. Mia (Mia Lyhne) is pregnant; Mia insists she hadn’t yet found the right time to inform Frank. Her hesitancy stems from the fact that Frank isn’t very good with kids, evidenced by his awkward manner around Mia’s chubby, insecure 12-year-old, Bo (Marcuz Jess Petersen).

Frank’s dilemma takes centerstage, put in stark relief by Casper’s unstoppable drive to get laid as often and with as many woman (aside from wife Iben, played by Iben Hjejle) as possible. Frank is surrounded by middle-aged men needing to prove their manhood, including an all-male book club (cast with various notable Danes, including filmmaker Jorgen Leth) whose discussion of “pearl necklaces” has little to do with an examination of the work of Joseph Conrad.

Hvam’s starched, nerdy visage portrays so much internalized pressure that his character seems capable of an emotional blowout at any moment, and the key to making “clown” Frank viable as a character is that this pressure compels him to make awful decisions with the best intentions. Christensen is a perfect engine to make these choices roll down the track toward an inevitable crash, resulting in some truly inspired setpieces.

Frank arranges to take Bo on a camping trip for the weekend as a way to confirm he’s a legit dad. But Casper’s aim to use the trip as a way to score with as many women as possible ensures that a string of really bad things will happen. Whether it’s at a campground replete with comely young female campers or at a buxom cafe owner’s riverside abode, the settings become miniature worlds for Hvam, Christensen and Norgaard to stage loose yet carefully constructed sequences culminating in total disaster, usually flecked with some kind of extreme sex.

Though the sequences predictably lead to further trouble, especially for Frank, their details nevertheless surprise, while each setpiece tops the previous one for sheer outrageousness. Frank’s determination to show his devotion to Bo doesn’t lessen his clownishness yet still reinforces his humanity, while Casper’s sexcapades are partly mitigated by the manhandling he endures back home from Hjejle. Bo, however, has the final word in an ending scene that cleverly manages three things at once: to steal the idea of “The Hangover” franchise’s final slide show and insert it into the movie; to end the movie on its biggest laughs; and to set up a sequel.

Jacob Banke’s lensing toys with Dogma devices, reducing the philosophy to a marketing gimmick. Martin Schade’s and Morten Egholm’s editing drives the road trip along at a terrific clip and holds choice shots onscreen as long as needed for maximum comic effect.

Popular on Variety

Clown the Movie


Production: A Nordisk Film Biografdistribution release (in Denmark) of a Zentropa Entertainment/JA-hatten presentation in association with Med TV2 and the Danish Film Insistute. (International sales: Trust Nordisk, Hvidovre, Denmark.) Produced by Louise Vesth. Directed by Mikkel Norgaard. Screenplay, Casper Christensen, Frank Hvam, based on the television series "Klovn."

Crew: Camera (color), Jacob Banke Olesen; editors, Martin Schade, Morten Egholm; music, Kristian Eidnes Andersen; production designer, Rasmus Thjellesen; costume designer, Louise Hauberg; sound (Dolby Digital), Andersen, Mads Lundgard, Kasper Janus Rasmussen; sound designer, Andersen; stunt coordinator, Anders Woldike; assistant director, Peter Hingebjerg; second unit camera, Alex Almbjerg; casting, Jette Termann, Anders Nygaard. Reviewed at Fantasia Film Festival, July 22, 2011. Running time: 91 MIN.

Cast: With: Frank Hvam, Casper Christensen, Marcuz Jess Petersen, Mia Lyhne, Iben Hjejle, Lars Hjortshoj, Tina Bilsbo, Mads Lisby, Anne Moen, Roger Kormind, Jorgen Leth.

More Scene

  • Billy Porter ABC Disney FX Party

    Emmys 2019: Inside the Post-Show Parties

    After the final awards were presented at the 71st Emmys, televisions biggest stars and execs headed off for final toasts to this year’s festivities. Things kicked off at the Governors Ball but didn’t end until the wee hours at parties throughout Los Angeles. Here, Variety gives you the inside details on all the hottest after-parties… [...]

  • US record producer The-Dream arrives for

    Top Music Publishers Come Together for Songs of Hope Honors

    The 15th annual Songs of Hope honors united songwriters, music industry insiders and more than a few preeminent doctors at producer Alex Da Kid’s Sherman Oaks compound on Thursday night. Jimmy Jam returned to host the event, which served as a fundraiser for the ever-vital City of Hope medical treatment center as well as a [...]

  • Renee Zellweger Rufus Wainwright Sam Smith

    Renée Zellweger: Judy Garland Was 'My Childhood Hero'

    Awards buzz is building around Renée Zellweger for her performance as Judy Garland, emerging as a frontrunner in the Oscar race for best actress. But for her, the real prize was paying tribute to Garland, of whom she’s been a lifelong fan. “Nobody was prettier, nobody sang prettier…the adventures she had, [she was] my childhood [...]

  • Keke Palmer BlogHer19 Summit

    Keke Palmer Brought to Tears Accepting Truth Teller Award at #BlogHer19 Creators Summit

    Keke Palmer stood surprised and wide-mouthed on the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit stage as she was presented with the Truth Teller Award for her recent acting work — and her viral “sorry to this man” clip. “This means so much,” the multi-hyphenated star softly whispered as she got teary-eyed upon accepting the award. Last week, the [...]


    Emmys 2019: Inside All the Hottest Pre-Parties

    It’s (Emmys) party time! Before the 71st annual Emmys go live on Sunday, stars and execs are keeping busy by party-hopping in the days leading up to the big show. Here, Variety gives you the inside details on who was where and what they were doing. Keep checking back right here throughout the weekend for [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez Green Dress

    Jennifer Lopez Closes Out Versace Show in Famous Green Grammys Dress

    Jennifer Lopez has found her way back into the Versace dress that broke the internet in 2000. The “Hustlers” star closed out Versace’s Spring 2020 show in a re-worked version of the revealing, bright green silk chiffon dress that she wore to the Grammy Awards 20 years ago. The dress quickly became a pop-culture phenomenon, [...]

  • 10 Storytellers to Watch

    Variety Celebrates Inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch Event

    Storytellers from across the spectrum of entertainment — film, literature, podcasting and play writing — were honored Thursday at Variety’s inaugural 10 Storytellers to Watch luncheon at Gramercy Park Hotel, hosted with partner the Independent Filmmaker Project and presented by Audible. Honorees Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of “Friday Black”; “Limetown” podcasters Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie; [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content