Meet Nobby: an average citizen of Grimsby who enjoys a pint down his local with his 11 kids and crude, overweight wife (Rebel Wilson), all paid for with the money he earns falsely claiming his child has a life-threatening disease, when in actual fact, they just shave his head.
Any film featuring Sacha Baron Cohen – who plays Nobby – is bound to be controversial, but I think he’s finally took it a step too far.
Grimsby (known as Brothers Grimsby in the U.S) actively sets out to portray Grimsby (an actual, on-the-map, non-affluent town in northern England) in an incredibly negative light. This is probably supposed to be a sarcastic take to mock the negativity surrounding the town – similar to Borat‘s portrayal of Kazakhstan which apparently was a jab at those who believed the place was actually the way he made it out to be – but I’m a firm believer that the only way to put an end to prejudice is to not even acknowledge it, viewing everything and everyone as equal.
Appropriately named Nobby (trust me, massive knobhead) lives a basic life and appears to be relatively content sharing banter with his football-loving, beer-bellied pals. But there’s still one thing missing in his (un)desirable life: his long-lost brother, Sebastian (Mark Strong).
The two brothers became separated 25 years previous but when Sebastian returns, he doesn’t have a single thing in common with Nobby.
After making Sebastian – now a deadly MI6 agent – a wanted man, Nobby becomes essential to his brother’s chance of proving his innocence and preventing a global terror plot.
With the spoof spy genre mixup becoming increasingly overdone, director, Louis Leterrier, must have believed he could use his experience to add another ingredient and spice up the bland genre, much to the misfortune of everyone who decides to watch this trainwreck (which happens to be another – much better – film).
There were scenes where my jaw dropped (not an expression, my jaw actually dropped to the point where I ran the risk of becoming an open-mouthed popcorn target). I won’t go into details as I wouldn’t want anyone to feel as awkward as I felt (I’m just gonna leave ‘elephant scene’ here), but I thanked god that I never had my usual nachos as I would’ve been put off for life. And that would be a tragedy. Obviously.
Cohen is no stranger to political incorrectness but we usually are cleverly gifted with a deeper, more meaningful message underlying the stupid antics. Yet despite searching for it throughout, Grimsby lacked wit of any sort (although it may have got lost in the elephant but I tried not to look too much).
Leterrier is relying on shocking the audience into laughter, but to be honest, he just shocks them into disgust: incest, paedophilia, bestiality (sort of) – this film has it all. It’s safe to say that Grimsby is a little desperate. Well, a lot. It’s revolting and crass, without the memorable wit and sarcastic appeal of Cohen’s usual films. Looking ahead at Cohen’s career, Grimsby may be memorable but as the final nail in his Hollywood career’s coffin, not for the intelligent humour we’re used to from the joker.