Grimsby – 2016
Director: Louis Leterrier
Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, Penélope Cruz, Gabourey Sidibe
Words: C. Abbott
This is a film that manages to achieve something few do – to declare itself utterly redundant from the opening scene. We as an audience are immediately set the tone for what is one of the most vapid and revolting films in recent memory. Feeling more like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange being subjugated with the horrors of war and famine, Grimsby too feels as though you are witnessing a war crime you can’t escape from.
Basing itself around the tired formula of a bromance/buddy film, the world’s greatest spy (Mark Strong) has to team up with his brother (Sacha Baron Cohen) from the aforementioned town. We’re told hilarity ensues – it doesn’t. At a mere 83 minutes long, this should be a short, snappy comedy with a fast pace of laughs and gags. The results are a tiresome drag with flat humour and uninspired characters. As with the modern trend of weak comedy film, note: The Hangover Part 3, Grown Ups 2 and The Vacation, what they lack in creativity and wit, they make up for in gross out moments that are simply put in to trigger a reaction. Grimsby manages to top them all with an extended sequence that takes place entirely within an elephant’s uterus. Enough said.
While not being able to describe this as a hateful or evil film, it is certainly a depressing and repugnant one. After the umpteenth joke around fellatio or certain sexually transmitted diseases, you’ll need a cold shower to cleanse yourself from this vacuous filth. This is a comedy that should appeal to no-one. The jokes are non-existent across the board, it is neither a clever spin of the spy film, a mockery of social class or even recognisable to the people of the real Grimsby town. The films of Sacha Baron Cohen have only been getting weaker since the brilliant Borat and Bruno, this is an all-time low. If The Dictator was disappointing, then this is a calamity.
The performances feel forced and at times as though the actors simply do not what to be there. Mark Strong looked more pained rather than mean throughout, yet what he is doing here in the first place is anyone’s guess. Director Louis Leterrier shows absolutely zero comedic flair here and doesn’t make up for it in the action sequences. Coming from The Transporter franchise we know he has a grasp on creating fun and engaging set pieces. Yet here the action is made up of headache inducing editing that serves more to confuse rather than entertain. Perhaps to hide what can only be weak choreography and special-effects.
This creation deserves to be forgotten, cast out and ridiculed. It is a shameful entry into the genre and an ever more consistently terrible next project in the filmography for Cohen. This worthless rubbish will leave you with a feeling of emptiness and longing for any kind of joy. Utter garbage.