Grimsby is a dumb film. So, so dumb. Incredibly dumb.
Sacha Baron Cohen’s lager-lout Nobby has none of the satire of his best creations Ali G and Borat. He pales in comparison to even his most middling character Brüno, and falls short of the at least reasonable slapstickery of Admiral General Aladeen in The Dictator. His finest writing this most certainly is not. Nobby is a gross, walking, talking stereotype of a Northerner in the shape of Liam Gallagher – sideburns and all. With Nobby as the film’s representation of its working class – complete with masses of children, booze and benefit fraud – the town of Grimsby probably has a right to be a little bit annoyed with the character, Cohen, and the film in general. As far as Grimsby’s problems go, being offensive perhaps is less of an issue than just how lazy it feels.
The plot – or lack thereof – is remarkably thin. Two inseparable brothers, Mark Strong’s Sebastian and Cohen’s Nobby are torn apart at a young age and raised separately. Nobby’s life follows a path to nowhere, spending his days generally being obnoxious and longing for his brother’s return, whilst Sebastian becomes a super army spy, leaving his life in Grimsby behind. Fate/a convenient contrivance sees the brothers reunited after Nobby unwittingly sabotages Sebastian’s latest mission, leaving them both on the run from MI6. Expect hijinks. Expect to want to turn it off.
Sebastian’s introduction is actually pretty solid though. Remember that awful scene in the Doom movie where it mimics the game its based on, with the camera taking you on a dizzying first-person trip through eyes of the film’s hero as he tackles hordes of monsters? Well it’s like that, but much better, as we witness Sebastian flexing his action knowhow firsthand. There’s also a duplicate scene later on, this time through Nobby’s eyes, bringing some of the funniest beats you’re going to find in the film. There are one or two other smirks and chortles to be had, but mostly they’re too few and far between. There’s jokes aplenty, just not all that many of them land.
If multiple elephants ejaculating into Mark Strong’s face and Sacha Baron Cohen’s arse is your thing, then by all means give this a watch, but you can count me out. Somehow though that’s probably not even the most ridiculous thing that happens. Harry Potter gets AIDS, poison gets sucked out of testicles and England win the World Cup. All of which are preposterous.
Rating (out of 5):