REVIEW: Klovn: The Final (2020)

Danish Theatrical Release Poster — Nordisk Film

The following is a review of Klovn: The Final — Directed by Mikkel Nørgaard.

The Final is the third and supposedly final film entry in the wildly popular Danish comedy series known as Klovn (which means clown), a Danish comedy franchise inspired by Curb Your Enthusiasm starring two of Denmark’s most popular comedians, Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam, playing fictionalized versions of themselves. Casper Christensen, who recently appeared in Chris Addison’s Rebel Wilson and Anne Hathaway-led comedy The Hustle, could be called Denmark’s Jerry Seinfeld, but his character on the show is very different. The Casper character is a womanizing sexual addict, who constantly gets his best friend Frank into trouble. Frank Hvam’s character is the ‘Larry David’ of Klovn. The Frank-character makes many embarrassing blunders, and his partnership with Casper Christensen always gets him into trouble with his wife and their friends.

At the beginning of Klovn: The Final, Frank has just turned fifty years old, and, at his birthday party, he finds out that his wife, Mia (played by Mia Lyhne), is considering getting a divorce from him because she doesn’t feel seen. Casper, who is revealed to be expecting a child from his latest fling, thinks that he has the perfect solution. Casper tells Frank that he needs to give her some time on her own — put their relationship on standby — and make her realize just how much she’ll miss him. Frank reluctantly agrees and prepares to go on a birthday trip to Iceland with his best friend. When they miss the plane to Iceland but still want to stay away from their significant others, they decide to stay at a friend’s house until their planned vacation was over. However, when an Icelandic volcano erupts and prevents commercial flights from being able to fly from Iceland to Denmark, the boys have to pretend to be stranded in Reykjavik, while they spy on Frank’s significant other.

Mikkel Nørgaard has directed fifty-three episodes of the series of the same name and all three of these films. Klovn has never had a cinematic look to it, and Nørgaard hasn’t given the series a cinematic look in the supposedly final entry in the franchise. This still looks like the Danish hit television show, and the main characters’ antics in this final film could’ve — except for maybe one sequence — easily been done in a couple of episodes of the series. This story didn’t need to be a film, per se.

The two previous Klovn-films have told much larger or more ambitious stories than the series ever dared to try. In Klovn: The Movie, Casper and Frank, went on a tour of the country that took them to a brothel and a music festival. In the sequel, Klovn Forever, Casper and Frank went to America and, believe it or not, somehow met both Adam Levine and Isla Fisher. Unlike the previous two films, Klovn: The Final doesn’t have a lot of cameos, and, had this film been an episode of television, then a large chunk of the film might lead to it being classified as a bottle episode. In this relatively large section of the film, Casper and Frank stay in a single location, and the sequence can, admittedly, become a little bit repetitive.

If it were not for Frank’s relationship with Mia and his good, albeit ungentlemanly, friendship with Casper, then the Klovn-series — film or television — would have no heart. One of the reasons why I didn’t really enjoy the second film in the series — Klovn Forever — was because the film messed with Casper and Frank’s friendship (in length, Frank’s marriage) in a way that I just couldn’t excuse. Director Mikkel Nørgaard and writers Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen seem to have understood that these films are the most enjoyable when Casper and Frank are together, and, even though the aforementioned bottle episode-sequence can become repetitive, fans of the series will love seeing the popular duo be together through, for the lack of a better word, sickness and health.

If the first film was about Frank’s attempt to prove that he can be a good father, and the second film was about how friendships can go through serious rough patches, then this final film is about marriage as you grow older and the friends that have stuck by you along the way. Of course, these films are filled with faux pas and cringe comedy, but newcomers to the series should be prepared for a lot of crude and inappropriate jokes. These films are absolutely not politically correct. As a matter of fact, the Klovn-films make deliberate attempts to not be politically correct, and, as a result, I don’t think all of the jokes land well outside of Denmark. With that having been said, there are several satisfying payoffs to the film’s many jokes.

Mikkel Nørgaard’s Klovn: The Final is exactly what Danish audiences will expect but not much more than that. It is a funny but crude continuation of the hit cringe comedy series that I think is significantly better than the previous entry — Klovn Forever — to some extent precisely because it doesn’t foolishly try to reinvent the concept of the tried and true series. The story isn’t inflated and it isn’t needlessly ambitious. Newcomers to the franchise will probably frown at the inappropriate faux pas in Klovn: The Final, but fans of the film series will find a lot to enjoy about the supposedly final film in the Danish hit series.

7 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.

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