Grimsby: Baron Cohen Has Lost The Midas Touch

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‘Grimsby’ is Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest effort to baffle, scare, amuse and dazzle audiences around the world.

Sadly, the essence of his previous comedic masterpieces that made them ‘too-funny’ and him a ‘legend’ is absent for most of the 83 minute run time of this tale of two brothers reuniting…and some other things that will most likely hurt your eyes.

The movie is a story of two brothers who were separated 28 years ago, as one was taken in by a family, and the other remained a lonely orphan.

Sebastian, played very well by Mark Strong, was adopted and nurtured, growing up to be a secret agent with MI6, while his brother Nobby (Baron Cohen), remained in the quiet fishing town of Grimsby, living off benefits, drinking, endorsing his kids’ use of drugs, being a soccer-hooligan and awaiting the return of his beloved brother.

Indeed, such a story sounds rather heartfelt and emotional, with their reunion showing promise of being a highlight of the movie, yet it is so rushed and hurried that you immediately get an understanding of what is going to happen for the remainder of the runtime: explosions, gun-chases and very odd sexually driven scenes, with no emphasis on certain features of what the ‘great’ movies do, namely fleshing out and exploring characters and relationships.

I didn’t have such an issue with that, because once I had lowered my expectations from thinking this was going to be on the same level as ‘Borat’, to recognizing that it was actually going to be as devastating as ‘The Dictator’, I wasn’t too fussed. I comfortably conceded my optimism and just tried to enjoy ‘Grimsby’ for what it was; a switch off your brain action and espionage movie mixed with Sacha Baron Cohen.

There were a number of positives that really stood out.

Mark Strong saved the day, acting with a true demeanor of professionalism and formality, smoothly slotting into scenes, and when on screen with Baron Cohen, it wasn’t difficult to work out who was the better actor. From his performances in ‘Kick-Ass’, ‘The Imitation Game’ and ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’, I was prepared for yet another strong (pardon the pun) rendition. Another solid performance was that of Isla Fisher (the wife of Baron Cohen), who played the role of an insider agent helping Sebastian once he was ostracized by the MI6. She had great flair and composure.

Grimsby
Nobby and Sebastian
Thanks to www.comingsoon.net for the image.

However, the performances weren’t the focus of this movie, but rather the ability to wow and please the crowd.

In ‘Grimsby’, I can’t commend Baron Cohen for being original or inventive as he was in the past. This time around, I found myself laughing, but it was mere toilet humor, lacking any genuine comedic gold. The laughs were due to me cringing, not actually finding the gags to be funny.

As un-funny as these scenes and jokes can be, a heed of warning to parents not to allow your young children to watch this movie, as there are certain things that you, and your kids, simply won’t be able to forget or unsee. Spoilers aside, one of the central scenes I’m referring to involves an elephant, or two…or many more. Maybe it is best to simply leave it to them to be sneaky and mischievous and work out their own way to watch the movie, just like how I did when I wanted to watch ‘Borat’ or ‘Da Ali G Show’ when my parents didn’t let me. To see the reactions of the audience members on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, click here.

The satirical efforts targetted against notable individuals such as Daniel Radcliffe and Donald Trump are mildly amusing, but what puts the icing on the cake is what happens to them, and the visual representation of it happening – grossly funny.

I am a huge fan of British music, especially that from the 80’s, with my love of bands such as The Smiths, The Cure and New Order being through the roof.

I was so thrilled to have the pleasure to listen to certain staples from that great era of music history; while ‘This Charming Man’ may not have been an appropriate song for Baron Cohen’s character, it was extremely enjoyable to have other powerful Brit-Pop ballads blaring throughout the cinema.

Boasting action scenes that, to my surprise, were put together maticulously well, with a jaw-dropping first-person video game style action sequence at the opening of the film, ‘Grimsby’ managed to endure as something that wasn’t blatantly terrible, but not amazing. In essence, it is a well put together, but shocking story with the occasional (at most) laugh-out-loud moment. You won’t want to watch this movie again, but hey, why not attempt to enjoy it for what it is?

My Rating: 5.5/10

“You can’t hurt us, we’ve got bulletproof glass!”

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