The Brothers Grimsby

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The Brothers Grimsby
The Brothers Grimsby forgoes coherent action and a gripping story for stupid, grotesque humor, but still provokes a higher ratio of riotous belly laughs than most other Hollywood comedies combined.
Sometimes, even when you know you shouldnít laugh, the howls still propel out of your body like a locomotive on a train track. You canít help it. You almost feel guilty for doing so. Yet, a laugh is still a laugh. And even when you know that itís wrong, it still releases a wave of endorphins that make it feel oh so right.†

The Brothers Grimsby is full of these moments. Itís wholeheartedly and proudly stupid, silly, grotesque, outlandish, vulgar, and over-the-top. But for its entire running time, I couldnít help but perpetually smile. These even turned into full-blown belly laughs on numerous occasions.

Is it pretty? No. In fact, at times, itís downright revolting. Is it clever? It might actually make you dumber. But that doesnít matter. The Brothers Grimsby forgoes coherent action and a feasible narrative so that it can get to its gags faster, while thereís always one just seconds away in case its predecessor didnít land. Its pursuit of creating outrageous mirth even leads Brothers Grimsby to take a 15 minute detour to Africa just so it can make a nauseating elephant joke that words wonít do justice.

As its title suggests, The Brothers Grimsby doesnít start off in Africa, though. Instead it begins in the northern English town of Grimsby, where Sacha Baron Cohenís Norman ĎNobbyí Butcher drinks profusely, reproduces rapidly, and loves to watch England play football (Iím a Brit, I refuse to use the s-word).†Nobbyís life has forever been blighted by the fact that he was separated from his younger brother Sebastian when he was a child. Sebastianís hasnít, because he has gone on to become the best MI6 agent in history. Upon learning of Sebastianís whereabouts, Nobby inadvertently causes his long-lost sibling to kill the head of a charity organization, which leads to the pair going on the run together.†

For all of its moments of genuine hilarity, The Brothers Grimsby lacks the imagination or dextrous characterization of Cohen's characters Borat, Ali G, or The Dictatorís Admiral General Haffaz Aladeen to match the peak of Sacha Baron Cohenís career. Instead, it feels more like an elongated sketch. But because of its 83-minute running time, it always remains tolerable.†

While the film is undoubtedly funny, The Brothers Grimsbyís plot barely registers and its attempts at action are laughable for all the wrong reasons. Which is surprising considering that itís directed by Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, The Incredible Hulk, Now You See Me) who fails to add any panache to The Brothers Grimsby through its action, which unfolds in a disjointed fashion that actually does more harm than good, as it threatens to take you out of the film.

But The Brothers Grimsbyís leading stars make up for its shortcomings by selling its sentimentality and gross-out humor to the audience perfunctory. Sacha Baron Cohen plays Nobby as dim but sweet, and he never irks despite his brash and loudmouth demeanor, while Mark Strong is the perfect foil, as his irritable demeanor makes his co-star even funnier.†

Itís Mark Strong and Sacha Baron Cohenís dynamic that drives the comedy through its issues. But, despite their best efforts, The Brothers Grimsby will still ultimately be remembered for one or two outlandish hilarious moments rather than as a well-crafted package. It's still more than satisfactory. Just expect to feel very dirty and guilty afterwards.†

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7 / 10 stars
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