I wasn’t there of course when the concept for this movie, The Brothers Grimsby, was bandied about by writers (including Sacha Baron Cohen), but I can only imagine it went kind of like this: “Hey, I’ve got an idea about two brothers who were separated by adoption as children. One goes on to become a top assassin at MI6 (Great Britain’s equivalent to the CIA) and saves the world on a daily basis. The other becomes a drunk, ignorant, vile, disgusting English football (soccer) hooligan with between nine and 11 children and Rebel Wilson (“How to be Single”) for a wife.”
At this point, I’m sure Cohen (whose career has included projects ranging from good, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “Les Misérables,” “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” to decent, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “The Dictator” to downright horrid, “Brüno”) spoke up and insisted that he, himself, play the latter role of Nobby. Then, another contributor said, “Oh, and let’s not forget to make sure the brothers meet again and engage in all sorts of crazy adventures while trying to keep the bad guys from destroying the population with some type of virus. All of this taking them from London to South Africa to Santiago, Chile.”
Then another adds, “Yes, but we also need to add graphic shots of private body parts throughout, especially the anus. We need a year’s worth of anus shots in The Brothers Grimsby. In addition, we need to make sure that various fireworks are inserted into the anus for full and dramatic effect.” To wild applause, he continues, “Oh,and in addition, we have to feature a scene where Sacha gets to suck poison from his bother’s testicle — close up — like every film has today.” After this, a small debate breaks out whether they should actually have an ejaculation scene, which is quickly resolved when Cohen says yes.
Finally, a meek copywriter says, “Is it possible to show a segment where both brothers are placed inside an elephant’s vagina and maybe covered with globs of pachyderm semen. Could we do that?” “Only if we could showcase a group of fat ugly drunks, gruesome, foul-mouthed children and feature an untold number of killings and maimings, including a small boy in a wheelchair,” the chief writer intones. “Oh, and while we’re at it, let’s put in a part where Daniel Radcliffe and Donald Trump contract H.I.V. Now THAT would be hilarious. But, remember, mostly, we need to fill the screen with Sacha’s horrible face, crooked teeth and terrible haircut, as much as possible. And we need to open things with a grunting, sweaty Sacha having sex to R. Kelly’s ‘Bump and Grind.’ That’s how we get the kids in the theaters.”
And all of this was set before a backdrop of England winning the World Cup, which is about the most ridiculous premise of this entire enterprise. Thus, when all was said and done, The Brothers Grimsby is no doubt one of the most grotesque and ludicrous films to appear in almost a generation. It’s “Spy” meets “Hitman” meets “The Love Guru” (I could add more, but . . .). Yet, while lambasting just about every aspect, I cannot give it a total failing grade (of five poops) because there are a few moments of genuine laugh-out-loud scenes and dead-on jokes which parody the genre perfectly and show Cohen and his cohorts will do anything (and I mean ANYTHING) for a chuckle. Politically-correct, friends, this ain’t.
The problem is that Cohen just doesn’t know when to stop. For example, the previously mentioned elephant scene would have been funny (stomach-churningly so, but funny nonetheless) if they had not decided to have five more animals involved, thus ruining the sick joke. This happens over and over.
I can also mention others in the production, including Mark Strong (“Kingsman: The Secret Service”), as brother Sebastian; Penélope Cruz (“Zoolander 2”); Ian McShane (“Hercules”) and a few more, but this is just going through the motions, however, since nearly every scene is dominated by Cohen’s brand of gross-out comedy antics, leaving director Louis Leterrier (“Now You See Me”) to be content to just point the cameras at him and step away.
At a short 80-minute running time, there really isn’t much else to do. A few flashbacks of the siblings let’s one know some backstory, but not much is left for resolution. So, if one feels in the mood for some real laughs (along with some face-hiding, gag-reflecting moments), Cohen is the guy for you and The Brothers Grimsby is no doubt your cup of tea (or cup of whatever).