One can only surmise that 2016 has been a rough year for Mark Strong and Penélope Cruz The proof in the pudding is their participation in this debacle masquerading as a comedy film. The Brothers Grimsby, aka Grimsby is complete and utter rubbish from start to finish. The fact that the only real laugh comes at the very end of the film speaks volumes for this complete waste of celluloid.
Written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston and Peter Baynham; directed by Louis Leterrier and starring, personal favorite, Mark Strong, Cohen and his wife Isla Fisher, Aussie actress Rebel Wilson and a few familiar faces to British television audiences in the form of cameos by Johnny Vegas and Ricky Tomlinson, The Brothers Grimsby is an assault on the senses of such catastrophic poor taste that one feels the need to have a shower and a colonic cleanse after viewing.
The film is, essentially, a classic Cohen satire/parody of the northern city and its inhabitants. Former Grimsby denizen Sebastian Graves (Strong) is an agent for MI6, sports a contact lens which records his every deadly move while on missions and he is a bald “007.”
His long lost brother, Nobby (Cohen) is a lazy, piss artist and football mad Grimsby native who picks out a mattress by shagging a “bird” on the thing in the shop. At least Cohen’s script never rises above genitalia, ejaculatory and bottom jokes, which run throughout the film.
Cruz plays master criminal Rhonda George. The villain masquerades as a charity head who plans to release a virus that will kill all the common folk of England. This means, of course, that every Grimsby citizen is doomed.
Scott Adkins is the violent assassin who has targeted Graves, and he also works for George, who has the thankless job of being the only other “straight” character in the film.
The movie starts as it means to finish and never deviates from the persistent toilet humor and bad taste jokes that fill each and every scene. Just as it seems that Cohen has managed to hit heretofore unheard of depths of bad taste, he manages to top himself.
It really is a tie between the “sucking out the poison” gag and the “hiding in an elephant’s vagina” schtick, complete with Strong and Cohen being assaulted by giant elephant penii and both men being covered in a white viscous substance, as to which is really the most offensive.
Other jokes are aimed at Donald Trump, no real crime committed there as the real Trump is beyond deplorable; so no harm, no foul, charities and the film really is a massive leg pull of the lower working classes.
The real crime here, beyond the consistent bad taste of the film’s “comedy” is that this could have been funny. Mark Strong is a skilled performer who has massive comedic chops. (Anyone who has seen his performance in Kick-Ass can attest to his comedy skills.)
Granted, Cohen is an acquired taste. Fans of his brand of comedy, Ali G Indahouse and Borat may well find the film hysterically funny. Anyone over the age of 11 will find the film a complete waste of time.
Even the action scenes with Strong’s character are diminished by the toilet humour on offer. It has to be said that the one redeeming thing about the film was the “first person shooter” gaming POV aspect of Graves’ action scenes. There was a touch of Kingsman, a’la FPS that could have been the film’s highpoint since the comedy was so dire.
Sadly the movie never moves past its dire start and the sight of Cohen with long Liam Gallagher sideburns and fake teeth.
This is one to avoid. A shaky 2 out of 5 stars only for the presence of Strong. Cruz looks as though she has wound up on the wrong filmset and even severe re-editing could not save this stinker. It takes a lot for this reviewer to savage a film, but The Brothers Grimsby has rightly earned its drubbing.