Director: Louis Letterier
Cast Headliners : Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong
Original Release Date : March 11th, 2016
Sacha Baron Cohen excels when he nearly fully makes the movie about his latest wacky character. Whether it was Ali G's love of rap, or Borat/Bruno/General Aladeen's clever yet unique stereotypes his comedy films have been a wonky and ridiculous funny ride through a set of shenanigans in a outside world. The Brothers Grimsby has many of these elements, but not handled the best. But its certainly not ..uneventful and without chuckles.
The latest creation here is Nobby (Sacha Baron Cohen), a British extremely dedicated and extremely dumb soccer hooligan who lives in Grimsby. He's been separated from his brother Sebastian (Mark Strong) since birth, and he randomly runs into him again after many years at the latter
s job.... as a MI6 spy agent. This premise , largely seen in the trailer as will be gotten into later, soon leads to them on a globe trotting adventure.
While Cohen's movies have never exactly had incredible plots, they usually have had slightly more substance than this. The story is weak and generic which serves as a slight canvas to paint Nobby's idiocy against but its mainly there to exist as a place to hold a series of gross and silly jokes. The “outside” world in this film is not the mainstream like the past few films in this “Series” but what could have been interesting is for the most part floating in the background.
What does succeed, one of the few things that do in this film, is the pairing between Nobby and Sebastian. Cohen can sometimes have a good line to cause laughs here, but more than ever is just a bit player in a avalanche of extreme silly. Likewise Strong's Sebastian is pretty suave and charismatic on his own, much like the other British genre characters he no doubt parodies, but when the two brothers are mixed together shenanigans ensure. Their wildly clashing personality types make for some good jokes and there's a warm, albeit lukewarm, comedic chemistry between them which is something that hasn't been seen since Borat and perhaps even improves on that film's duo slightly.
Unfortunately, while its funny to see Sebastian being as grimly serious as he is in this silly comedy, it's less so exciting to see the film's attempts at action scenes. For some reason they are often filmed in the first person, which can be nauseatic besides a brief couple of comedic uses. The visual effects are subpar and attempted cool moments are usually brief or weakly anticlimatic. The same “Why” can be said for the far too many “emotional” flashbacks to the brother's childhood which detract from the mood.
The film gave away most of it moments and laughs in the trailers leading up to its release. There's not much more besides momentary, rarely effective , chuckles from bits involving Nobby's wife Dawn (Rebel Wilson) and 11 meme named kids, Sebastian's spy commander (Ian McShane), philathronpist Rhonda George (Penelope Cruz), or South African maid Banu (Gabourey Sidibe). They are all featured at parts but get lost in a parade of silliness that can't quite find its direction. In fact, Sidibe's sequence is one of the few positively memorable parts as it features Nobby attempting to be a secret agent and adopting a bad Sean Connery accent as cover due to circumstances. It has the film keeping direction on a gag for more than a few moments, and its the better tier for it.
What, for the most part, wasn't shown in the trailers was the typical Cohen levels of grossout and extreme gags that could never appear in any ad. He truly seems to have tried to break past the scale of his past edgy moments , to mixed results. While most are so shocking they can't be forgotten, that's not always a good thing. This movie isn't for a queasy person, or someone expect substance from their gross out parts for that matter. There's a extreme amount of these gags involving sex , disease, and violence. There's more than most comedies and even his past works and such;while some may find these moments extremely humorous their frequency and substitution for what he does best couldn't be exactly called the best approach to how to have made this film. The levels of shock is even to a point in some cases that it even seems to be to the point of parody, but actually... here it is not.
The Brother Grimsby has a lot of problems and is far from Sacha Baron Cohen's best work. However, it is not his worst either. Nobby makes for a decently funny new character, at times, and his interaction with his brother Sebastian is truly decent. There's a few other miscellaneous alright jokes mixed in as well and momentary clever parodies of British and spy tropes. But these bits of good are buried in a lot of extreme muck. But as said, it isn't forgettable. Not entirely for pleasant reasons though. 6.9 out of 10