In the long-standing vein of comedic spy movies movies featuring unlikely heroes,i Sacha Baron Cohen’s fourth feature film and his second featuring an unproven character,ii is a tightly packaged tickle, rife with nuances that subtlety swim over the heads of the vast majority of the audience, and unsurprisingly, professional reviewers too.iii The Brothers Grimsbyiv is a strong cult hit contender.v
In only its second weekend in theatres, I took in what was easily funniest movie since The Dictator alongside just 10 other people in a 200-seat downtown cinema. It was a damn good thing there was an entire empty row to my right and in front because there were two or three scenes where I literally fell out of my seat laughing like a baked hyena. It’s hard to imagine the kind of mind that can create the physical and social boundary-destroying humour that Cohen continues to showcase, but he shows no signs of aging, even if his brand of laughs is evidently losing its luster with audiences.vi
As to the film itself, the storyline had pace, making for a compact sitting not much longer than a headliner’s stand-up routine. Even the action scenes left little to be desired, giving a sharp modern-day video game feel, but in the best way possible ; effectively blurring the line from the other direction (surely to the bemusement of Naughty Dog et al.) and yielding a distinctive palette cleansing between cuts of (mostly) witty dialogue and evermore unbelievable bro-on-bro-ball-sucking, obeast-muff-diving, and elephant-queue-bukkaking.
It takes a sick man to make such a film and an only slightly less sick man to derive so much enjoyment from it. As with Cohen’s other feature films, I have little doubt that watching The Brothers Grimsby again in a few years will be well worth the while.
There’s more depth than originally meets the eye.
___ ___ ___
- See also, Austin Powers, Spy, etc. [↩]
- Bruno and Borat were characters in Da Ali G Show on HBO. [↩]
- The Brothers Grimsby has a telling 54% on RT. Yes, reviewers are wrinkly old hags with no funny bones! [↩]
- 2016, written by Sacha Baron Cohen and directed by Louis Leterrier. Also starring a dull if nicely aging Penelope Cruz, a dim Isla Fisher, and Mark Strong. [↩]
- Which is to say, a financially disastrous movie that develops a fanatical following. Like Brazil or Boondock Saints. [↩]
- The movie has taken in $22 mn so far against a production budget estimated to be $60 – 80 mn. Compare this with the fat fuckers who looted theatregoers with Spy, which took in $235 mn against a similar production budget. They say crime doesn’t pay, but in the short term at least, neither does most art. [↩]