After the Candid Camera-like satires “Borat” and “Bruno,” Sacha Baron Cohen pushes vulgarity to a new level in this British spy spoof, revolving around two vastly different brothers, born in the Northern England seaport of Grimsby and then separated for 28 years after their parents’ death. Read on...
Dimwitted Nobby Butcher (Cohen) is a heavily-tattooed, working-class bloke/soccer fanatic with a libidinous wife, Lindsey (Rebel Wilson), and 11 foul-mouth’d kids, one named Django Unchained, another called Gangham Style and a third, Luke, which is short for Leukemia, a disease which Nobby claims he has in order to get extra welfare money.
When Nobby discovers that his long-lost younger brother Sebastian (Mark Strong) is a suave MI6 agent, the siblings team up to combat a global crime syndicate, journeying to South Africa to apprehend Rhonda George (Penelope Cruz), who is planning a lethal terrorist attack at the World Cup final in Chile.
At one point – in the film’s signature sequence – as they’re being chased by assassins, they hide inside an elephant’s vagina. When a male elephant arrives on the scene, what occurs next is vividly explicit in its disgusting carnality.
Then there’s another coarse, highly publicized bit in which a computer-generated Donald Trump accidentally contracts HIV. One comedic scene that does work is when a beautiful British spy (Tasmin Egerton) tries – in vain – to seduce Nobby.
Unfortunately, Sacha Baron Cohen’s real-life wife, talented comedienne Isla Fisher, appears only briefly, as Sebastian’s MI6 Moneypenny-like contact. Similarly, the talents of Barkhad Abdi and Gabourney Sidibe are also wasted as a heroin dealer and portly chambermaid, respectively.
Scripted by Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston & Peter Baynham and episodically directed by Louis Leterrier (“Now You See Me,” “Clash of the Titans”), it offers 83 minutes of scattershot jokes about excrement, pedophilia, crack addiction and HIV-AIDS.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Brothers Grimsby” is a flatulent, yet flaccid 4. Gross? Yes. Funny? No.