The Brothers Grimsby - The Riles Review
Sacha Baron Cohen is a satirical genius. He pushes the envelope, to the point that most would call too far, but for me I’ve found he’s always successfully treaded the boundaries of good taste, making a lot more hits than misses. The Brothers Grimsby is his latest concoction, and while not as politically or morally edgy as his previous work, it’s still hilarious watching Mark Strong talk about pre-ejaculate with a deadpan, secret agent face.
The Brothers Grimsby woos us with tale of Nobby, a soccer fanatic living in the town of Grimsby, forever missing his younger brother Sebastian, from whom he was separated when they were children. Well as fate would have it, somehow they reconnect, only for Nobby to discover his brother is now a super spy. And what sort of film would this be if they didn’t save the world together?
When I say that this isn’t as edgy as your typical Sacha Baron Cohen fare, I should say that it just isn’t as clever. I caught one political message towards the end, but it was only connected to one joke (one of the best jokes in the movie too). There’s still some pretty disgusting material in there, quite a lot, but it treads that fine line of good taste from a different angle. This is more in line with Ali G, than with Borat or Bruno.
And none of this is to say the movie isn’t funny, because it’s hilarious. There are so many jokes, and they all bounce off very well, mostly because of the quality of their delivery. Cohen has created another great character in Nobby, and he is perfectly juxtaposed by Mark Strong’s secret agent Sebastian. Mark Strong has some of the best lines, mostly because he says them so earnestly. He’s a great vehicle for Cohen to prove how truly stupid Nobby is.
The other players are all good too, mostly Ian McShane and Rebel Wilson. Although that comes at a price as they don’t get enough time on screen because Cohen and Strong are both firmly under the spotlight the whole time. I would’ve personally liked to see more of Ian McShane, who is playing the hard-nosed MI5 boss of Mark Strong. Some of the funniest parts are when Nobby’s antics are beamed back to MI6, all for McShane and company to watch. There are some other names in there, like Penelope Cruz and Isla Fisher, but you won’t see much of anyone that isn’t the Brothers Grimsby.
The plot is typically ridiculous, being a spy movie at the core. But to be honest if you’re expecting a good, logically grounded plot based on the trailers (or even just that poster of beer bellied Cohen in a turtle neck.), you weren’t meant to see this movie, because it is definitely not for you. But if you want to hear a lot dick and ball jokes, take a seat.
There’s a slight amount of action to be found in the film, although Louis Leterrier’s style has incorporated a whole lot of putting the camera in earthquake mode, so you can’t see much of anything really. It does however work really well when they play from the point of view of Strong’s special contact lenses. His whole introduction, chasing down some bad guys, is mostly done through his perspective and makes for one of the coolest chase scenes ever. Whenever there’s fighting outside of that perspective, it just looks like a headache. Luckily, this isn’t an action movie, and usually when Mark Strong is kicking the tar out of someone Nobby is close by doing something retarded for us to laugh at.
And to conclude...
So if you go into this film expecting some offensive, bad taste material, you’ll have a great time, like I did. If you want more nuanced, subtle comedy, you’ll regret being anywhere close to this.
For the lowbrow crowd it’s a total crack up the whole way through, so enjoy! Or don't.
THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY - 8/10