MOVIE REVIEW: The Brothers Grimsby

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - "The Brothers Grimsby" stinks of desperation for comedic force of nature Sacha Baron Cohen, and the strained effort doesn't pay off.

Cohen, who unleashed his no-holds-barred satirical genius on an unsuspecting world in the form of Ali G, Borat and Bruno, is out to shock and disturb the audience while making them laugh in the action-comedy hybrid he masterminded as co-writer and star. But this one is all reach and no grab. The result is a confounding, rarely funny mess.

Instead of forcing the world to stare uncomfortably at the funhouse mirror image he projects, Cohen cracks the mirror and jabs you with shards of it. The humor in "The Brothers Grimsby" is a different, far more depressing type of vulgarity than Cohen's fans are used to. Instead of brainy social commentary, he sticks with fourth grade level bathroom gags.

This is the type of movie Larry the Cable Guy would crank out if society still allowed him to make movies.

Cohen plays Nobby, a pudgy Cockney who manufactures countless kids with his wife to pump up the welfare checks, allowing him to sit around drinking and watching soccer. He pines to reconnect with his estranged brother, Sebastian (Mark Strong), who has become a secret agent. They run into each other by chance, with the bumbling Nobby screwing up one of Sebastian's special ops, forcing him to tag along as both become targets of a global conspiracy.

The high points are the action scenes, thanks to the grit of Strong and influence of "The Transporter" director Louis Leterrier. Cohen is so talented that he has to try extremely hard not to be funny, but try and succeed he does here. 

Running gags include celebrity HIV infection due to stray bullets, incest and rampant obesity in the underclass Nobby is a part of. I'm of the mind that no subject should be off limits when it comes to comedy, but Cohen scrapes the razor's edge such a theoretical don't-go-there boundary. Is it possible to make any of this stuff funny? Maybe, but all Cohen proves is that he doesn't know how to get there. 

If you are out to offend -- and this movie is gleefully offensive -- it's not necessarily a problem, as long as you do it cleverly and creatively enough to make your audience laugh at you and themselves. "The Brothers Grimsby" doesn't even begin to approach that level of success, instead flailing in desperate attempts to shock for the sake of schlock.

The most alarmingly sad part of the film is a climactic monologue in which Nobby proclaims him and his people scum, and posits that it's scum that makes the world go 'round. He's insulting the blue collar crowd he's appealing to, and is most definitely not a part of and never was. Cohen is still an ultra-rich, impossibly talented elite, no matter how much he tries to dirty himself with gross, pathetic gags. He may not be scum, but he's definitely managed to make some.

RATING: 1.5 STARS OUT OF 4

HOT ON HOME VIDEO

The Big Short

This best adapted screenplay Oscar-winner takes a light and humorous -- while also intensely detailed --take on the mortgage meltdown that plunged the economy into a deep recession nearly a decade ago. A sterling ensemble cast of Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Brad Pitt take on the roles of Wall Street power players who manipulated the financial system, grabbing for greed and leading to financial ruin. An extensive slate of extras fill out the Blu-ray/digital copy combo, including looks at casting, characters, deleted scenes and period detail.

Carol

In a stirring tale of forbidden love, Cate Blanchett plays a wealthy divorcee who pursues and seduces a shop girl (Rooney Mara) in 1950s New York. Their love flowers despite harsh opposition from social customs and the demands of their lives and careers. Bolstered by two fantastic performances and elegant writing, the film was one of the treasures of awards season. Blu-ray/digital copy combo extras include a cast and filmmaker Q&A and a behind-the-scenes gallery.

Game of Thrones: Season 5

HBO's obsession-inducing take on George R.R. Martin's dark, adult fantasy saga continues to thrive, building up and killing off beloved characters while ever-winding into deeper recesses of political backstabbing and intrigue. Brilliant performances, cut-throat action and entrancing dialogue continue to drive the series to dizzying heights. The Blu-ray/digital copy combo features audio commentaries, a day-in-the-life production vignette and two featurettes that provide in-depth looks at the lore surrounding the tales that unfold in season five.

Sisters

Playing against Type, Tina Fey is a free-spirited, unreliable mom and Amy Poehler plays a rigid, uptight rule-follower. The siblings reunite when they learn their parents are selling their childhood home, and reconnect with each other and their youth by throwing a blowout party. The comedic duo plays off each other with the usual excellence, bolstering a weak plot. Extras in the Blu-ray/digital copy combo include an unrated

version of the film, deleted scenes, a gag reel and a guide on how to throw a party. 

Print this article Back to Top