GRIMSBY (UK/USA/15/83mins)
Directed by Louis Leterrier. Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Johnny Vegas, Ian McShane.
THE PLOT: Superspy Sebastian Grimsby (Strong) quickly wishes that his long-lost brother Nobby (Cohen) had stayed well and truly lost when the chalky welfare scrounger to his cheesy action man hero effectively become a team. Sebasian has spent his life becoming the perfect MI6 agent, a deadly assassin with an even deadlier girlfriend. Nobby, on the other hand, has been shitting out kids – “10 or 11” – with his equally slobbish wife (the omnipresent Wilson) when he’s not unleashing football chants at the top of his lungs.
When the world is threatened by the fiendish Rhonda George (Cruz – one of the few here seemingly having fun), the two brothers must reunite though, and become, well, just like every other crimefighting buddy-buddy duo riding that thin line between loathe and hate.
THE VERDICT: After the disappointments of ‘Bruno’ (2009) and ‘The Dictator’ (2012), Sacha Baron Cohen plays it purely for laughs with ‘Grimsby’ – and thus avoiding any off-putting socio- or geo-politics. Which might make commercial sense, on paper – pale imitation Denis Leary was always going to sell out bigger venues than his unfiltered, if no less ambitious, blueprint, Bill Hicks – but it leaves you with a film that barely manages to keep the fart jokes going for even 83 minutes.
Not that jokes about bodily functions aren’t hilarious, of course, Cohen managing to deliver quite a few penetration and poo jokes that land straight in the middle of the rectum, but the smudge-smudge, wink-wink quickly wears thin here.
Perhaps it’s all to do with the edit, some of ‘Grimsby’’s sharper, nastier jokes that popped up in the trailers missing in action here.
Review by Paul Byrne

Review by Paul Byrne
2.0Quickly wears thin
  • filmbuff2011

    Sacha Baron Cohen has said that Grimsby will feature the last of his decidedly oddball creations to hit the big screen. Maybe just as well, as it has to be said that it represents a new low for Cohen, who has fallen far since the heyday of Borat – was that really a decade ago?

    Grimsby, named after the Lincolnshire town, is about two brothers separated at a young age. Nobby (Cohen) is an England football fan who lives in Grimsby with his 9 children and chubby wife Lindsey (Rebel Wilson). He longs to find his long-lost brother Sebastian (Mark Strong), who he hasn’t seen in 28 years. That’s because Sebastian is secretly a spy for Mi6. On a mission, he finds out about a deadly virus being handled by ‘Ukrainian Ben Affleck’ (Scott Adkins). He tracks him to London, whereupon he suspects that philanthropist Kate (Penelope Cruz) is involved. That’s when Nobby tracks him down, ruins everything and tries to hide him in Grimsby – not for long, of course. The duo bond and Sebastian decides to bring him to Cape Town to stop Kate and save the world…

    Not actually filmed in Grimsby, where locals are angry about the portrayal of a beer-swilling, chav-laden town twinned with Chernobyl (!), Louis Leterrier’s film tries desperately hard to be funny. The screenplay, by Cohen, Phil Johnston and Peter Baynham, does have some good one-liners (like the Ben Affleck or Donald Trump gags) but they’re few and far between. Instead, the script tries to be as offensive as possible, mistaking shock value for laughs. In one scene, Nobby interrupts Sebastian taking a shot, so instead he hits a disabled boy with AIDS, who then infects not-Daniel Radcliffe with his blood. That’s just for starters. There are some very risque jokes here, where you don’t know whether to laugh cautiously or keep your mouth shut. And then there’s the elephant scene… Well, that scene will get the film some notoriety, but it’s just crass, stupid and gross.

    Despite an 8-year age difference, Cohen is actually supposed to be Strong’s older brother – but that’s not fooling anyone. Cohen is really plumbing the depths with his numb-skulled character, who gleefully blows up traffic wardens yet doesn’t know what a gun is. Really? At least Strong comes out well, strong, from the film. The rest of the cast are a criminal waste of talent. Cruz barely even registers as a character as she has just a few lines, even less than Isla Fisher. Ian McShane is also under-used and Tamsin Egerton is cast but appears to have nothing to do but stand there. At a suspiciously short 83 minutes, it’s apparent that some re-editing has occurred. Quite a few scenes from the trailers either aren’t in the final edit or have alternate takes in the final edit. There’s a post-credits scene if you can be bothered to stay. There are some laughs to be had with Grimsby, but it’s just too dumb, crude and empty-headed to come with any sort of recommendation. **