If women ever wanted to see a film of why men are terrible and feel terrible afterwards then Neil LaBute’s In the Company of Men would probably be your best bet. If women ever wanted to see a film about why men are terrible and laugh uncontrollably at our inadequacies, perversions, insensitivities, hormonal indulgences, and even occasional homosexual confusions (am I right men? Huh?….right?…) then Clown is it. It objectifies just about every single reason why a woman would doubt going into a relationship with a man and yet does it with one of the most pointed, extreme, and filthy senses of humor imaginable.
The film is a feature-length version of a popular Scandinavian television show about men doing very bad things. In the film Frank and Casper (the two popular Danish comedians Frank Hvam and Casper Christensen who headline the show as well) have planned to take a canoeing trip over the weekend; a weekend in which one of the members of their book club hires and flies in some of the most beautiful prostitutes from all around the world to stay in his mansion on the bayside. Casper being the more impulsive of the two has his sights set on an entire weekend of infidelity with prostitutes and whomever they meet along the way. Frank, on the other hand, is passive and a pushover and therefore will go along with whatever Casper wants to do, for the most part. This is, until, Frank learns that his girlfriend is pregnant and she is in doubt of whether she wants to have a baby with a man she’s unsure is fatherly material. Therefore, as a responsible adult trying to prove his worth Frank does what *every* man would do…he kidnaps her twelve-year-old son and takes him along on the canoeing Tour De Pussy so that he can show her that he knows how to be a father.As you can probably ascertain from that synopsis, Frank and Casper are two of the worst examples of decency in the entire history of decency. Frank isn’t as bad as Casper, but his lack of strength to refuse bad behavior gets him into more trouble than a guy like him should ever find himself. In that sense he and Casper represent two of the worst types of men on each extreme; the one who can’t say no and can’t stand up for himself, and the one who doesn’t care to say no because his dick already said yes and as you sit and watch in disbelief of the kinds of things these two tend to get themselves into you can’t help but laugh hysterically as you see them reach epic failure in each of their endeavors. Nothing goes right for them (which means that the actual right thing happened) and whenever something does go the way they wanted it to, it gets upended by something else bad they’ve already done and is now biting (or poking) them in the ass.
The pairing of the two men together is probably what helps keep everything from getting too redundant. Each of the men get into their own kind of trouble because they do different kinds of dumb things, so just when you think you’ve got a handle on the comedy and what may be in store for you it throws you a curve ball between the eyes at nearly each step along the way.
I wouldn’t say you need a strong stomach to handle some of the bits, but you certainly need to be able to have a sense of humor about some things that are legitimately awful. If you can’t, then watch In the Company of Men and feel depressed that there’s no hope for us. I’ll to choose to go ahead and laugh about it. A lot.