- on Friday, 11 March 2016 15:57
- by Frank Wilkins
The big star of the show In Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest movie, The Brothers Grimsby, is an elephant penis. And no, I don’t mean Cohen himself, although the guy most certainly wouldn’t balk at playing one if it meant a few laughs.
Instead, he’s Nobby Butcher, a terminally unemployed slacker with nine children, none of which he can support, and a girlfriend (Rebel Wilson) with whom he conspires to milk the government welfare system by shaving one child’s head and pretending he has leukemia.That’s right, no subject, topic, or segment of society is untouchable here by Cohen and his co-writers, including disabled children, fat people, having sex with fat people, having sex with fat black people, AIDS, fecal matter, body parts, or even, God forbid, Elephant penises. And if watching an ejaculating elephant penis doesn’t tip your offensive meter, maybe watching any of the well-worn sight gags involving sucking poison out of another’s private parts will.
That’s not to say there aren’t any nuggets of humor to be found amongst the distasteful ribaldry. There are some laughs to be had, including one particular scene involving mistaken identity between Nobby’s South African hotel maid (Gabourey Sidibe) and a seductress (Lina Smit) sent to gain his trust, but most of the contrivances are too blatantly obvious and on-the-nose to catch us off guard.
Cohen found success with his earlier characters such as Ali G and Borat, by riffing on many of the uncomfortable truths about his audience. He makes a better film when he goes for his signature brand of off-the-cuff, socially awkward moments involving unsuspecting targets. Here he gets away from that gotcha-style mockumentary with a fully-scripted action/comedy (he co-writes with Phil Johnston and Peter Baynham) that feels like a bunch of outrageously ugly skits held loosely together by a James Bond spoof action plot about an assassination attempt on celebrity activist Rhonda George (Penelope Cruz).
Mark Strong (Kingsmen: The Secret Service) fleshes out the action side of the story as Sebastian Graves, an ultra-efficient MI6 secret spy and assassin whose latest mission is suddenly compromised when he learns he’s the long-lost baby brother of Nobby. It seems Nobby has been searching for his sibling ever since the two were adopted by different parents nearly 30 years ago. Together, the two must go on the lam to protect themselves from shady villains while also evading MI6, which wants Sebastian arrested as a rogue spy.
The most surprising thing about The Brothers Grimsby is how simple and stupid the humor is. While they’ve always been highly offensive and well-deserving of a hard-R rating, Cohen’s sensibilities in the past have always had a certain amount of shrewd keenness to them. But here he goes pure stupid and everyone involved seems to be completely proud of it. To boot, there isn’t a single ounce of sympathy in his Nobby character for us to latch onto. He’s just another of the nameless, faceless “scum” derided by the film’s villains.
Handing this type of high energy film over to Louis Leterrier, the director of the first two Transporter films, probably made a lot of sense at first thought. Though he does nothing to ruin the film (that happened long before he ever came on board), he clearly went for an easy buck as he mostly stands out of the way to let Cohen and company do their thing. Even his video-game action sequences seem distractingly frenetic and over-edited.
Oddly, whether or not you find much enjoyment in The Brothers Grimsby won’t come from your preconceived notions of Cohen’s brand of filthy antics. They are just too dumb and simple this time around. Nor will your action-junkie habit get a substantial fix. However, if mile-a-minute sex jokes, mistreatment of the disabled, and cringe-worthy semen sight gags do it for you, then you are well on your way to loads of enjoyment.
MPAA Rating: R for strong crude sexual content, graphic nudity, violence, language, and some drug use.
Runtime: 83 mins
Director: Louis Letterier
Writer: Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston
Cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Rebel Wilson
Genre: Action | Comedy
Tagline: MI6 has a brand new tool...
Memorable Movie Quote: "Hello, chaps! Room for another? Good bye!"
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Official Site: https://www.facebook.com/BrothersGrimsby/
Release Date: March 11, 2016
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details available.
Synopsis: In the action-comedy Grimsby, when Sebastian Graves (Mark Strong), a deadly MI6 agent, takes on a mission to prevent a massive global terror attack, he must unfortunately reunite with his long-lost brother Nobby (Sacha Baron Cohen), a sweet but dimwitted English football hooligan... proving that behind every great spy is an embarrassing sibling.
Nobby has everything a man from Grimsby could want, including 11 children and the most gorgeous girlfriend in the northeast of England (Rebel Wilson). There's only one thing missing: his little brother, Sebastian, who Nobby has spent 28 years searching for after they were separated as kids. Nobby sets off to reunite with Sebastian, unaware that not only is his brother MI6's deadliest assassin, but he's just uncovered plans for an imminent global terrorist attack. On the run and wrongfully accused, Sebastian realizes that if he is going to save the world, he will need the help of its biggest idiot.
No details available.