Release: 4th July 2016
Format: BR / DVD / DGTL
Nobby sets off to reunite with Sebastian, unaware that not only is his brother MI6’s deadliest assassin, but he’s just uncovered plans for an imminent global terrorist attack. On the run and wrongfully accused, Sebastian realizes that if he is going to save the world, he will need the help of its biggest idiot.
Grimsby has been accused of many things. It has been labelled homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic, racist and even tactless. A more accurate way to describe it, however, would be to say it is simply crap. All these other accusations suggest oversensitive critics or those who seek to find offense where possible. There is nothing mean spirited about Grimsby, but the fact remains that there is nothing redeeming about it either.
From the opening gambit of sex in a mattress shop, Sacha Baron Cohen seems intent on pushing audiences to their lowest ebb time and again through the film’s aching 80 minute runtime. You will no doubt be talking about elephant genitalia for sometime after the film ends; as it is clear the Cohen has taken every shortcut he can to base his comedy on shock rather than humour. But boundaries are far from pushed, as we deal with teenage druggies, semen, poo, fellatio and no end of rectum based gags; smeared on screen and abandoned like a child playing ‘knock down ginger’. It is all very immature and cheap, like the ever decreasing quality of The Hangover trilogy. All the while, director Louis Leterrier seems to think he is making an action movie. You can polish a turd all you want Louis, but it is still a turd.
To be fair, the film does have a sprinkle of moments that feel like vintage Cohen. There is some genuine energy in the comical misunderstanding between Cohen’s Nobby and Annabelle Wallis’ South African honey pot Lina. Then there are the more ludicrous yet chuckle inducing throwaway moments, such as Nobby naming his kids Skeletor, Gangnam Style and Django Unchained. And the undercut speech about the poor being scum, feels instantly quotable. But Cohen is not stupid, and he reserves the little that does work for himself, meanwhile the drivel is dealt to a mostly bewildered supporting cast.
Mark Strong looks utterly dead inside as Nobby’s brother Sebastian, while Rebel Wilson resorts to her bog standard fat jokes as Dawn. Aside from Captain Phillips’ very own Barkhad Adbi rocking up unexpectedly, the real tragedy is Penelope Cruz’s apparent intent on starring in every pig awful comedy of the year.
If Borat was Cohen at his best, then Grimsby definitely shows him at his worst. There is none of the bold charm or mischievous wit that once earned him comparisons to Peter Sellers. Instead, Grimsby represents an otherwise tired and clichéd attempt at shocking audiences into nervous laughter; which doesn’t work. It is hard to stomach that a man who once brought an entire stadium of rednecks to fever pitch just by singing a national anthem, has now resorted to sucking poison from a testicle for laughs.
Film Grade: E
If you somehow find yourself still drawn to Grimsby post credits, then Sony have ensured plenty more is on offer on the special features front.
In the Making Of, no one seems to sense that terrible cinema is being made (even when Mark Strong is neck deep is elephant semen). Lots of praise is offered for Louis Leterrier’s French accent (but not direction), and Isla Fisher provides the film’s ultimate compliment (“I prefer sleeping in bed with this Cohen character than I did Borat and Bruno”).
The Gag Reel is forgettable, while the Deleted Scenes and Outtakes offer a few laughs. Most notably is a running joke about an over confident crime scene investigator, plus a cheeky reference to the assumption that everyone in Africa has AIDS.
Then, of course, Elephant in the Room explores the infamous scene. Apparently ear infections were common.
Special Features Grade: C-
Nobby might be a total moron, but I can think of a bigger one; the person who greenlit this movie.