THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY – A Review By Gary Murray




By Gary Murray

Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong and Isla Fisher

Written by Sacha Baron Cohen and Phil Johnston & Peter Baynham

Directed by Louis Leterrier

Running time 90 min

MPAA Rating R (should be NC-17)

Selig Film Rating Get Out Your Torches!


Over the last few decades, there has been a push to try and copy the Austin Powers formula of being crude and cleaver at the same time.  This is done as a spoof of a genre.  Most of these films have been more crude than cleaver.  It is films like A Million Ways to Die in the West with the Western and Tropic Thunder with the action/war genre.  The newest to take on the spy genre is The Brothers Grimbsy.  By the time the audience leaves the theater, the popcorn won’t be the only thing that smells.

Here is the so-called plot.  Carl ‘Nobby’ Butcher is an English football loving guy who lives and breaths the national team.  He also has a house with a room for his brother Sebastian who disappeared 28 years ago, when they both were boys.  Throughout all the struggles of Nobby’s life, he believes that his brother is still alive and will come back one day.

On the other side of the plot, a spy makes a daring amount of stunts while trying to catch a bad guy.  It is a scene that looks lifted from something along the lines Spectre or The Bourne Identity.  It is a thrill a second action chunk and it is totally abandoned by director Louis Leterrier.  This one scene shows that he should become an action director.  Within the next hour, he proves that he should never again helm a comedy.  We also find out that the spy is Sebastian (Mark Strong) the long lost Butcher brother

Well, the two meet up at a swanky party for the charity of Rhonda George (Penelope Cruz) a billionaire philanthropist.  The spy has been compromised and it looks like Sebastian has turned.  He knows that someone will be out to take him down.

Nobby decides that the best way to hide Sebastian is in the old neighborhood.  Then we get a bunch of lower class joke set-ups but without any true payoffs.  The only single bit that is funny is a banner that welcomes Sebastian home.  An example of a joke that doesn’t work—one of Nobby’s kids is named Luke because they are faking his Leukemia in order to get a government check for the rest of the family.

The two men eventually are off to Africa to break the case.  There we get a crude Texas switch comedy bit and then one of the crudest things one will see on a screen ever.  The two Butcher Brothers have to hide from a group of bad guys.  They do this by climbing up the nether-regions of a female elephant.  It is up close and graphic.  Then a male elephant hops on and does what a male elephant does to a female elephant.  The audience is subjected to animal genitals fondled in an up-close and personal manner, including ‘the money shot’ as they say in adult films.  Yes, it is just that gross and it is that graphic. 

If the plot feels similar, it is lifted whole cloth from The Naked Gun.  But, it is not even that cleaver.  Heck, it’s not even as cleaver as Spy Hard.  To say that three people actually wrote this screenplay is an insult to real writers.  Monkeys throwing excrement against a wall would have more brilliance than this trio.  

Rebel Wilson seems to be in the film for only one reason, to make fat jokes at her frame.  She is a very talented triple-threat but The Brothers Grimbsy totally wastes her gifts.  It is just moments of ‘let’s laugh at the fat girl’ to the expense of any semblance of plot. Gabourey Sidibe is used in much the same way, making jokes about her fatness.  In a movie where every woman is ridiculed, it comes about in its most vile way against heavy women.

The luckiest actress is Isla Fisher.  They make her look so dowdy that she is unrecognizable in the role of Jodie, the analysis who helps out the super spy.  It was like the role that Melissa McCarthy had in the beginning of Spy, just not as glamorous.   Isla is easily forgotten, which could be the single best thing for her career.

The biggest piling on has to be placed on the shoulders of Sacha Baron Cohen.  He knows how to make a brilliant comedy film, he did so with Borat.  But in the many years since then, he has either lost his touch or maybe he was just a one hit wonder.  If he were a female comic, he would have been dismissed and gone from the general public many films ago 

The Brothers Grimsby is not only the worst film of 2016 (so far); it should make the Ten Worst of the year.  It is neither cleaver nor funny. It is crude and filthy.  If you thought Bruno was bad, this is about 100 times worse.

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