THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY, (aka GRIMSBY), from left: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, 2016. ©Columbia Pictures

Grimsby – Movie Review

Sacha Baron Cohen returns to the big screen in his latest no holds barred comedy assault Grimsby.

So, is it any good?noGrimsby is the 5th feature in Cohen’s career as a leading man, and it seems the inspiration well has hit a drought. What started off as cutting social commentary (with a side helping of gross out humour) in Ali G and Borat has devolved over the likes of Bruno, The Dictator, and now Grimsby to just an excuse to film endless dick and ball jokes.

The “plot” sees Mark Strong’s super spy Sebastian Graves on the trail of terrorists when he crosses paths with his long lost brother Nobby (Cohen). Nobby is a stereotypical football hooligan who still lives in the boy’s hometown of Grimsby with his girlfriend/baby mama Dawn (Rebel Wilson) and their 11 kids with names like Lukemia and Gangnam Style (yep). When things go wrong with the mission, Sebastian is forced to go on the run with idiot brother to stay alive and try to bring down international terrorists.the-brothers-grimsby05If it sounds promising at the outset, it could be. The first 15 minutes involves a few good gags and a great first person action sequences. But it quickly becomes apparent that Grimsby is trying to be two different movies, a halfway decent spy movie, and a really low rent comedy. Guess which one wins out?

Baron Cohen seems to be content to just point and laugh at poor people this time around, without anything insightful to say as his character Nobby is just a walking cliche. Mark Strong is confined to the same stock action hero that he always plays, with the added layer of whatever humiliation Cohen wants to dish out. Rebel Wilson is stuck doing her regular schtick as the randy and reproductively gifted Dawn, and Isla Fisher shows up to help her husband out, but is wasted in a nothing Moneypenny role where she spends most of the time on the phone looking pained. The movie also manages to waste one Oscar winner (Penelope Cruz), two Oscar nominees (Barkhad Abdi & Gabourey Sidibe), and a Golden Globe winner (Ian McShane) in forgettable and vaguely insulting ways. Work must be thin on the ground.grimsby-20164276My biggest issue with the movie is the consistent lack of laughs and this is from someone that loves gross out comedies and found Borat hilarious. Grimsby equates witty comedy with slapping a nut sack on your lead’s face and waiting for the laughs. It stumbles from one crude scenario to another, and when your big comedic set-piece is situated in an elephant’s vagina, it’s clear you have nothing interesting to say about the world.

If you’re interests include anal fireworking, elephant gang-bangs and scrotum sucking, then you’re in for a treat. If, on the other hand, you’re after a witty and clever comedy, move along, this is not the film for you. I don’t know though, the audience that I saw this with seemed to enjoy it, so maybe I’m just a comedy snob. Personally, the leak I took after the movie was far more satisfying.

GRIMSBY is in cinemas now.