The Brothers Grimsby review
Sacha Baron Cohen is the modern day Peter Sellers. Like the latter, Cohen happens to not only be a great character actor, but he’s so committed to his performances that he’ll stay that way for a while, going as far as appearing in late interviews in that character. But also like Sellers, Cohen also likes to put commentary within his projects to try and get his audience to think as well as laugh. I happen to really like him and even hope that he’ll come across a role where he’ll finally receive an award.
In recent years, Cohen has been in a bit of a decline. I’m not talking about getting any roles, but I’m focusing on leading roles where he receive most say within the creative aspect of the movie. While Bruno and The Dictator were received well and I liked both movies, they were not major hits at the box office. Why were people not coming back to his movies? Maybe because people knew they were getting more of the same from Borat or perhaps his shtick of combining hard R gross out gags with commentary simply wasn’t appealing for his audience. The Brothers Grimsby takes his insanity to further levels.
Soccer hooligan Nobby (played by Sacha Baron Cohen) is a poor Englishman whose crude, vulgar, and yet has everything he wants; a loving wife Dawn (played by Rebel Wilson) and eleven children. The one thing he’s missing though is his brother Sebastian. The two were orphaned when they were children, yet found love with each other and their passion for soccer. They were separated when Sebastian was adopted, leading Nobby to search for him for twenty-eight years. The two are finally reunited when Nobby hears of his brothers location at a political conference. But when Nobby meets with him, he discovers that Sebastian (played by Mark Strong) is now a spy.
Sebastian has become the polar opposite of Nobby and wants nothing to do with his past nor his brothers poor background. Sebastian’s cover is blown when an assassination attempt goes wrong and heads to his brothers town of Grimsby to hide. While there, Sebastian receives some help from government official Jodie (played by Isla Fisher) about Rhonda George (played by Penélope Cruz), whose goal of curing the world of disease may have darker intentions. The brothers head to South Africa and Chile where they work together to try and unravel the mystery.
While I’ve enjoyed the previous work of Sacha Baron Cohen, The Brothers Grimsby is the first that I have disliked. Is it not funny? No, there are plenty of gags that I laughed at, but a ton of them went too far with how gross they could be. One gag, involving an elephant, is so gross that I’d fell like I’d go to Hell for writing it down on paper. There are several gags like it that seems to get lost within it’s own commentary in order to be gross for the sake of being disgusting.
Speaking of commentary, The Brothers Grimsby tries to juggle a tone that has gross-out gags, a spy story, and a moral about the importance of family. It never gels together in any form. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that everything here feels rushed. The story seems to be on fast forward, simply trying to make it to the end rather. I wouldn’t be surprised if the film receives a directors cut later on (though I doubt it will help). Acting wise, Cohen does fine as Nobby, but he’s simply too unlikable to be a leading character. This is one guy that Cohen should never have to reprise.
I’ll give this two spilled bottles of bitter beer out of five. I’d never thought I’d write this, but Sacha Baron Cohen needs to set limits on how gross is too gross. Borat, Bruno, and The Dictator may be comedic films I like, but The Brothers Grimsby is simply too vile to recommend. Just chug a beer and skip this.